Facebook says software bug made 14mn users’ private posts public

08 June, 2018, 07:28 | Author: Leah Owens
  • Facebook flaw changed millions of users’ posts from private to public

Facebook acknowledged Thursday, June 7, USA time, a software glitch that changed the settings of some 14 million users, potentially making some posts public even if they were meant to be private. As a result, many of those users may have unknowingly published posts as public that they intended only for certain friends.

Facebook estimates that 14 million users are affected by the glitch, and is notifying them of it.

The company confirmed that some 14 million users were affected by the bug between May 18 and May 22.

"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, in a statement.

Affected Facebook users will soon get a notice on the app and website Thursday and receive a link to all of their posts during the four days when the bug was active, according to CNN, which first broke the news.

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Thursday's disclosure comes three months after The New York Times reported that in 2016, Facebook provided personal data for more than 87 million users to Cambridge Analytica, a political firm with ties to Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

It could be. Jonathan Mayer, a professor of computer science and public affairs at Princeton University, wrote on Twitter that this gaffe "looks like a viable Federal Trade Commission (FTC)/state attorney general deception case".

CEO Mark Zuckerberg ultimately issued a mea culpa and promised to do better for its users, a promise, in light of the most recent bug, is something the company is going to have to work harder to keep. In the process, the developers accidentally suggested all new posts be set to public, rather than just the featured items. "Since these featured items are public we inadvertently made the suggested audience for all new posts - not just these items - Public".

Even if the bug was an accident on Facebook's part, Mr Mayer said in an email to Reuters that the FTC can bring enforcement action for privacy mistakes. For ten days in May, Facebook's status-update tool did not retain user-specified privacy settings, resorting to the default instead. If someone made all posts "friends only" in the past, it will set their next post to "friends only" as well.

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