NEW YORK: Facebook Inc said on Friday that hackers stole digital login codes allowing them to take over up to 50 million user accounts in its worst breach ever given the unprecedented level of potential access, adding to what has been a difficult year for the company’s reputation.
“I’m so scared now. All my activities are on Facebook,” Mohammad ZR Zia, a 25-year-old college student in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, who has been using the social media platform since 2009, told Reuters. His account was logged out earlier on Friday.
Facebook, which has more than 2.2 billion monthly active users, said it has been unable to determine yet whether the attacker misused any of the accounts or stole private information. It also has yet to identify the attacker’s location or whether specific victims had been targeted.
Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg described the incident as a “really serious security issue” in a conference call with reporters.
Shares in Facebook fell 3 percent in afternoon trading, weighing on major Wall Street stock indexes.
Facebook made headlines earlier this year after a limited amount of data of 87 million users was improperly accessed by Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy. The disclosure has prompted government inquiries into the company’s privacy practices across the world, and fueled a “#deleteFacebook” social movement among consumers.
U.S. lawmakers said on Friday that the hack may boost calls for data privacy legislation.
“This is another sobering indicator that Congress needs to step up and take action to protect the privacy and security of social media users,” Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Warner said in a statement.
Federal Trade Commission Commissioner Rohit Chopra on Twitter said “I want answers” with a link to a Reuters story on the breach.
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