Cybersecurity

Facebook officially rolls out ‘Data Abuse Bounty’ program

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Facebook on Tuesday officially launched a program to reward users for reporting “data abuse” on its platform.

The move comes as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg prepares to testify before lawmakers on Capitol Hill amid scrutiny over the controversy surrounding Cambridge Analytica, a data firm that Facebook says improperly obtained data on potentially 87 million of its users. 

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The “Data Abuse Bounty” will reward people who report misuse of Facebook data by app developers with a sum of money determined by the “impact” of the report, Facebook said Tuesday. The new program mirrors Facebook’s already existent bug bounty program, which rewards security researchers who successfully report security flaws on Facebook or any of its sister platforms. 

Collin Greene, Facebook’s head of product security, said in a blog post that the new program will “help us identify violations of our policies.”

“This program will reward people with first-hand knowledge and proof of cases where a Facebook platform app collects and transfers people’s data to another party to be sold, stolen or used for scams or political influence,” Greene said. “Just like the bug bounty program, we will reward based on the impact of each report.”

The company paid $40,000, its largest bug bounty, in 2017 to a researcher who uncovered a critical flaw in image processing app ImageMagick that left the company’s servers vulnerable to hackers.

Facebook first said in late March that it would expand its bug bounty program to include data misuse, amid growing questions over the company’s handling of the Cambridge Analytica issue.

The company has said it first discovered in 2015 that the data firm, which has ties to President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, improperly obtained data on millions of its users.

Facebook told the company to delete the data, which Cambridge reportedly never did. The social media giant only last month publicly acknowledged what happened, as press reports began to emerge alleging that Cambridge used the data to fuel its political targeting. 

Zuckerberg will face questions on the matter when he testifies before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees on Tuesday afternoon and again on Wednesday when he testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Tags Bounty program Donald Trump Facebook Mark Zuckerberg Senate Zuckerberg hearing

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