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Photo: Facebook

Responding to criticism, Facebook tells Axios it will stop asking users for their email passwords as a means of verifying some new accounts.

Why it matters: Although Facebook says it never stored the passwords, collecting them in the first place is a bad security practice, both for the risk of a breach as well as for acclimating users to provide information they should protect.

Details: Facebook told Axios that "a very small group of people have the option of entering their email password to verify their account when they sign up for Facebook," but noted that people could choose instead to confirm their account with a code or link sent to their phone or email.

"That said, we understand the password verification option isn't the best way to go about this, so we are going to stop offering it,” the company said in a statement.

Those being asked for their e-mail passwords were users who listed an e-mail address that doesn't use the secure OAuth protocol, which allows users to verify their identity to a third party without sharing their passwords.

Facebook's use of passwords to verify some new accounts was first reported earlier Tuesday by The Daily Beast.

Facebook also recently acknowledged it had been storing some of its users' Facebook passwords in plain text.

Go deeper

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
6 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

7 hours ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.