Google Chrome users may be left thinking twice about two extensions that were available to download from the Chrome Web Store. The UpVoice and Ads Feed extensions were added to the official Google Chrome marketplace back in September and November of last year, with the applications downloaded over 5,000 and 10,000 times respectively. However, the third-party extensions for Google Chrome are now the subject of a lawsuit that was filed by social media giant Facebook at the start of the month.
Mark Zuckerberg’s firm has alleged that the extensions in-question maliciously scraped user data without authorisation from Facebook and Instagram.
BrandTotal Ltd – an Israeli-based company – as well as their Delaware subsidiary Unimania have been named in the lawsuit.
Facebook claimed the UpVoice and Ads Feed extensions for Chrome were designed to scrap public and non-public data from user accounts.
According to a post by ZDNet, Facebook in court documents claimed the UpVoice scraped user data from Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube profiles.
While Ads Feed allegedly collected user data from Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Twitter, and YouTube profiles. The data that was allegedly stolen included a target’s name, user ID, their gender, data of birth, relationship status and location information. While information useful to advertisers was also allegedly scraped.
Facebook said both of the Google Chrome extensions used almost identical code to scrap data and sent it back to the same remote servers. The Menlo Park firm believes the two companies mentioned in their lawsuit are one and the same.
In its complaint Facebook said: “Defendants shared common employees and agents. For example, BrandTotal’s Chief Product Officer and General Manager (Ex. 5), created Facebook accounts in the name of Unimania and the Ads Feed extension. BrandTotal’s Chief Technology Officer and co-founder (Ex. 5) also administered Unimania accounts on Facebook.”
Facebook has asked for a permanent injunction against both companies mentioned in the lawsuit to prevent them from accessing Facebook and Instagram websites. The social media giant have also asked for the firms mentioned in the lawsuit to be blocked from making further Google Chrome extensions and asked for compensatory damages.
In the aftermath of details of this lawsuit emerging on Thursday October 1 the two Google Chrome extensions were still available to download from the Chrome Web Store. But they have since been removed, with URLs for the listing of the extensions now bringing up 404 error messages.
In other browser news, Microsoft recently gave Google Chrome users a compelling reason to ditch the market leading browser for their own Edge software. The Redmond-based firm has just revealed another big upgrade to its Edge browser which makes it less taxing on your PC’s memory and its battery life.
In a post on its blog, Microsoft revealed a new feature called “Sleeping Tabs” which does exactly what it says on the tin.
This feature basically allows inactive background tabs to “go to sleep”, releasing system resources after a set amount of time.
These resources include both memory and CPU and can be used for new or existing tabs or other applications running on your device.
According to Microsoft tests, there should be a reduction in median memory usage of some 26 percent for Microsoft Edge users.
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World news – GB – Google Chrome warning: You may want to remove these extensions from your browser