Facebook made some private posts public for as many as 14M

Jun 08, 2018, 03:01
Facebook made some private posts public for as many as 14M

Facebook's troubles continue as the company has just announced that the platform experienced a "bug" that set the audience for tens of millions of people's posts to "public" even if they had set their privacy settings to share them with a smaller audience. Facebook usually lets users choose how they want their content to be shared, with basic options being: "Public, Only Friends, Friends Except, Specific Friends or Only me".

Users who may have been affected will be notified on the site's newsfeed.

"We recently found a bug that automatically suggested posting publicly when some people were creating their Facebook posts", said Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer, told CNN. People could have changed the individual audience setting on posts, but would have had to notice the setting was different from what they'd chosen.

'We'd like to apologize for this mistake, ' she added.

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Facebook says it didn't make the posts private until May 27, so it's possible that mere acquaintances could have seen sensitive info during that nine-day span.

A Facebook booth is seen at the China International Big Data Industry Expo in Guiyang, Guizhou province, China, on May 27, 2018.

What did the bug do?

The company said the mistake happened as it worked to redesign how it displays parts of user profiles that are always public. After Facebook employees discovered the bug, which occurred while the tech giant was testing a new feature, the company claimed workers went back and changed the privacy settings for all posts shared by those 14 million users during that time.

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It was unclear if users could have done anything to their settings to prevent being affected by the bug the company revealed on Thursday.

Facebook says the issue has now been fixed and that the user's privacy settings have been returned to their original state.

Only weeks after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the company is facing yet another major PR crisis.

This week, it has been answering questions about the nature of data-sharing deals with handset makers including Chinese manufacturers Huawei and ZTE. In the meantime, Facebook has set any public posts from that period to users' previous default settings, meaning that even users who meant to make posts public will need to reset them to be globally accessible.

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