Facebook sues programmer who allegedly scraped data for 178 million users

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Tech giant Facebook has sued Ukrainian national Alexander Solonchenko for allegedly scraping data for more than 178 million users.

Solonchenko reportedly exploited Messenger’s contact import feature by using an automated tool that mimicked Android devices, citing The Record, Engadget reported on Saturday.

He fed Facebook millions of phone numbers and gathered data whenever the site returned info on accounts with phone numbers.

The attacker supposedly conducted the campaign between January 2018 and September 2019, when Facebook shut down the importer, and started selling it on a black market forum in December 2020.

Facebook tracked Solonchenko down after he used his forum username and contact details for email and job boards, the report said.

The man has also scraped data from other targets, Facebook said, including a major Ukrainian bank.

In its complaint, Facebook asked for undefined damages as well as bans preventing Solonchenko from accessing Facebook or selling its scraped data.

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