How much is your private information worth? How about fractions of a dollar so small you couldn’t start to count them?
If you’re one of 1.1 million Facebook users who had their information scooped up by a Bulgerian blogger for $5, your personal details and privacy just got sold for less than the price of a McDonald’s Big Mac and fries, reports NBC News.
Bogomil Shopov, a blogger and digital-rights advocate, posted on his blog “I just bought more than 1 million … Facebook data entries. OMG!” on Tuesday. He said the data contained names, user IDs and email addresses, and that Facebook has been after him to delete his post about the purchase.
He bought the information from a user named “Mertem” on Gigbucks, an odd-jobs Internet board where you can hire users to perform tasks for anywhere from $5 to $50. And “Mertem” said the information was mostly from English speaking users, valuable for falsely populating a brand’s Facebook page with “likes” and followers:
The information in this list has been collected through our Facebook apps and consists only of active Facebook users, mostly from the US, Canada, UK and Europe. There are users from other countries as well but they are almost exclusively English-speaking as well.
Facebook is telling various news outlets it’s investigating how the data entries were obtained, and said it takes “aggressive action” on reports like Shopov’s, who said he has already gotten a disturbing message from someone at Facebook:
We would like you to send us this file, delete it, tell us if you have given a copy of it to someone, give us the website from which you bought it including all transactions with it and the payment system and remove a couple of things from your blog. Oh and by the way, you are not allowed to disclose any part of this conversation; it is a secret that we are even having this conversation.