Two youths living in Ukraine, through an online quiz, lured more than 60 thousand Facebook users to a browser and leaked their profile data. The apps predominantly targeted Russian and Ukrainian users and compromised around 63,000 browsers used by Facebook users, causing $75,000 in damages to Facebook, between 2016 and 2018. That allowed the developers to scrape information from a user's page as well as those of any friends to whom they were connected on the social networking site.
The move has some wondering how a privacy-driven social media company can be profitable, given that Facebook earns profits from advertising dollars and has the second-largest hold on the digital ad market behind Google.
The complaint says these hackers scraped public profile information and non-publicly viewable lists of friends, in addition to serving their own ads instead of official Facebook-approved ones. According to court filings, the apps offered personality quizzes like "Who are you of modern vampires?" This amount according to the civil complaint was what Facebook spent in removing the malicious plugins from its website past year.
In this complaint, Facebook alleges that users "effectively compromised their own browsers" by installing extensions.
Facebook, in its lawsuit filed on Friday, alleged that the Kiev-based entrepreneurs violated Californian and federal anti-hacking laws, and sued them for fraud and breach of Facebook's terms of service.
The company was granted access to people's information when they downloaded and installed a browser extension the quiz claimed was necessary to see the result.
Facebook notes that it publicly announced the compromise around October 31st, which roughly matches the date of a BBC report revealing the private message breach, quoting Facebook blaming malicious browser extensions.
Facebook in his statement of claim says: Scam name is Andrey Gorbachev and Gleb Sluchevsky.
If this scenario sounds in any way familiar that's because Cambridge Analytica came under fire for similar practices in 2018 when it was discovered the company accessed tens of millions of Facebook user profiles after quizzes were taken by unsuspecting users. But the suits give Facebook a chance to defend itself against charges of being lax with privacy and security, explaining how users have been victimized by hackers - not the platform itself.