Facebook's password breach was worse than we thought
When I worked as a journalist at The Next Web, there was a common pattern among technology companies: if there's a big event or news cycle—like Apple's yearly iPhone unveiling—at least one large company would try to use this to bury bad news.
Usually, this was in the form of mass layoffs or the departure of a notable executive. Zynga's 2012 staff cuts and confession it had lost $100 million, being the most recent memory of burying news in this fashion.
Facebook took this to a new level yesterday, dropping a bombshell a few hours after the redacted Mueller report was released to the public: it accidentally logged millions of Instagram passwords in plain text, too.
The news was buried in one of the busiest news cycles of the year and the company didn't even actually announce it—but instead sheepishly updated its original post, in the middle of the text, to note the additional scope of the breach:
Since this post was published, we discovered additional logs of Instagram passwords being stored in a readable format. We now estimate that this issue impacted millions of Instagram users. We will be notifying these users as we did the others. Our investigation has determined that these stored passwords were not internally abused or improperly accessed).
If that weren't enough bad news for the day, we also discovered Facebook collected the email contacts of 1.5 millon people who also provided the company with their email passwords as a part of a a scheme that attempted to verify identities. It's hard to believe that asking users for their actual passwords, then uploading their contacts, was a coincdence!
Password breaches are something of a normal part of life at this point, but Facebook's brazen approach to auditing its own security and the way it's gone about disclosing this is outrageous—the blog post is laughably called 'keeping passwords secure,' which is the opposite of what it did.
The problem we face in media, and in society as a whole is the exact thing you're feeling right now: exhaustion over all the bad news about Facebook, which makes these types of serious missteps even easier to dismiss. If we're all tired of hearing about Facebook's failures, what will it finally drop when we just don't care anymore?
Technology's IPO day update
Video-conferencing app Zoom went public yesterday in a bonanza IPO that priced it much higher than originally expected, and Pinterest finally hit the market as well. How'd they fare?
Zoom, listed as $ZM:
- 📈 Opened at $36 a share, but flew to $66 during trading
- 💭 The company's CEO, Eric Yuan, was inspired to build Zoom by a speech from Bill Gates in 1994
- 💰 At opening price, the company was valued at $9.2 billion
- 💵 Unlike most newly public technology companies, Zoom was profitable when it listed
Pinterest, listed as $PINS:
- 📈 Opened at $23.75 a share, rising to $24.40 on its first day
- 📉 Valuation was lower than its last round, largely to ensure a smooth opening trading session
- 💰 At opening price, the company was valued at $10 billion
- 💸 Pinterest still loses money—$75 million in 2018—but it earned more than $750 million in revenue last year, so it's not far off
Weeks ahead of IPO, Uber raises another $1B from SoftBank for its autonomous driving unit
Along with Toyota and auto parts maker, DENSO, it's an interesting development that is likely to help assure investors the unit—which is deeply profitable—will be able to successfully navigate the long game it needs to play for autonomous success.
Great read: The most measured person in tech is running the most chaotic place on the internet (That's YouTube, by the way)