Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies are being criticised for their lack of security for users’ personal information and for allowing people to circumvent security features to access accounts.
A series of attacks on Facebook and other platforms has caused a storm of controversy, with reports of a huge data breach and the US National Security Agency’s hacking of Chinese mobile phone networks.
A number of reports on Wednesday suggested the breaches had been perpetrated by a Russian hacker group, with the Chinese Ministry of State Security saying the attackers had “access to sensitive data of a vast number of Facebook users”.
But the Chinese claims were denied by Facebook and Twitter, which both denied that the two companies were behind the breaches.
The latest news came as the Federal Court ruled that the US Government had failed to prove that the attackers were part of the Russian Government.
However, it ruled that there was no need to prosecute anyone.
“The US government’s position is that the government of Russia does not have the capability to influence the content of the internet, that it cannot hack or intercept the content, that the Chinese government cannot use it to influence social media,” Federal Court Judge Michael Cote said.
“Therefore, the Government is not entitled to prosecute any person in relation to the attack.”
“The Government has failed to show that the Government of Russia and its agents have been responsible for any of the attacks on US infrastructure,” he added.
A spokesperson for Facebook, which said the company had not been made aware of the report until after it was published, said it was aware of “several attacks targeting our systems”.
“We take this issue very seriously and we are looking into it,” they said.
The spokesman added that Facebook “has a zero-tolerance policy for any attempt to compromise our systems”, adding: “We’re actively working to fix any issues as quickly as possible and have notified all of our users of any potential compromise.”
Earlier, Twitter said that its security team was investigating the Chinese hacking, but that it did not know the identity of the attacker.
The Twitter account for Facebook said that the company’s security team “had received a tip” that the attacks were carried out by a “Russian-based group”.
“At this point, we’re not able to say with any certainty that the report was accurate or accurate timing,” the statement said.
It was not immediately clear what the hackers were targeting, or what the Chinese attacks meant.
But it is understood that a number of social media accounts linked to the group have been deleted.
The Federal Court case is a blow to Facebook, whose shares have fallen in recent months, as the company has been hit with increasing criticism from the public over its handling of the US election.
Last week, Facebook suspended about 1.5 million accounts connected to the US elections after it emerged that the group was responsible for some of the biggest hacks in US history.