Facebook has sued a Ukrainian programmer for selling public data of millions of Facebook users,

The Record

reported

Friday.

The indictment says the man collected data from more than 178 million Facebook accounts between January 2018 and September 2019.

Programmer Alexander Alexandrovich Solonchenko is said to have used automated software to, among other things, massively copy and store phone numbers of Facebook users (also known as

scraping

).

According to the indictment, Solonchenko began selling the data on an online marketplace in December 2020. Most of the stolen information came from users based in the United States, according to the indictment.

Scraping

goes against Facebook's rules.

The company tracked down the Ukrainian because he also used his username and contact details for the illegal marketplace for his accounts on various job boards.

Facebook says Solonchenko has also scraped data from other companies, including the public records of a major Ukrainian bank.

The tech giant has disabled Solonchenko's Facebook and Instagram accounts and denied him access to the company's websites.

Facebook asks the judge to order the programmer to stop the sale of the public data.

The social network also demands compensation from the man, the amount of which is not yet known.

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