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Details of 100 million Facebook users distributed online

Security consultant compiles information to highlight privacy problems.

An internet security consultant has collected the personal details of 100 million Facebook users and published them on file-sharing site Pirate Bay on Wednesday.

The user list, which is available for download as a torrent file, contains the URL of every searchable Facebook user's profile, their name and unique ID.

More than 1,000 users have so far downloaded and distributed the file, which has been spreading rapidly across the internet.

Ron Bowes - who compiled the list while trying to learn breaking passwords - said he published the data to highlight privacy issues.

In a statement to BBC News, Facebook said that the information in the list was already freely available online. "No private data is available or has been compromised," the social networking site stated.

"People who use Facebook own their information and have the right to share only what they want, with whom they want, and when they want," the statement read.

"In this case, information that people have agreed to make public was collected by a single researcher and already exists in Google, Bing, other search engines, as well as on Facebook," it added.