April 24, 2018 / 6:02 PM / a year ago

Facebook removes accounts advertising stolen identities

April 24 (Reuters) - Facebook Inc has removed a number of accounts and pages that advertised and sold social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and alleged credit card numbers of dozens of people, following a report by news website Motherboard.

“Posts containing information like social security numbers or credit card information are not allowed on Facebook, and we remove this material when we become aware of it,” a Facebook spokesman said on Tuesday.

Hackers have advertised databases of private information on the social platform and Motherboard reported here on Tuesday that Facebook has held stolen identities and social security numbers for years.

Shares of Facebook were down 3.8 percent at $159.58 following the report.

Tech companies are under intense scrutiny about how they protect customer data after Facebook was embroiled in a huge scandal where millions of users’ data were improperly accessed by a political consultancy.

The report said at least some of the data in these posts appeared real. Motherboard said it was able to confirm the first four digits of the social security numbers, names, addresses, and dates of birth for four people whose data appears in a post from July 2014.

A Google search inquiry still pulls up a few public Facebook posts that offers to sell personal details including credit card numbers. However, many of such posts appeared to be removed once the link was opened. (Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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