California, April, 18, 2019: Facebook Inc said said it 'unintentionally uploaded' the email contacts of 1.5 million new users since May 2016, without their knowledge or consent, a spokesperson for the networking giant said in a statement on Thursday.
In early April, Facebook was asking some users to enter their email passwords when creating new accounts, in order to verify their identities.
When the users entered their email passwords, they saw a message saying that Facebook was importing their contacts.
While the situation was initially unclear, Facebook said on Wednesday that this was how contacts were collected in order to improve ad targeting and new friends recommendations via expanding the network of social connections.
According to Facebook, it stopped offering email password verification to new users for the first time in March.
"When we looked into the steps people were going through to verify their accounts we found that in some cases people's email contacts were also unintentionally uploaded to Facebook when they created their account. We estimate that up to 1.5 million people's email contacts may have been uploaded," a Facebook spokesperson said.
The spokesperson specified that the social network had not shared these contacts with anyone and was currently deleting them.
"We've fixed the underlying issue and are notifying people whose contacts were imported. People can also review and manage the contacts they share with Facebook in their settings," the spokesperson added.(agency)