Facebook Bug Exposed Unpublished Photos for Up to 6.8 Million Users

17 December, 2018, 17:32 | Author: Leah Owens
  • A Facebook logo is seen on an iPhone screen in this

Thanks to a bug, for 12 days in September "third-party apps may have had access to a broader set of photos than usual", the company explained in a blog post on Friday.

The firm apologised for the failure.

The bug gave access to timeline photos, Facebook stories, Marketplace photos and even the photos uploaded by users on Facebook that they never meant to share.

As well as letting developers access photos on a user's timeline, it gave them access to photos posted in Stories and Marketplace, among other features.

"We're sorry this happened", the company said on Friday, in a blog targeted at developers who build apps for its platform.

Photos that users have uploaded to their respective social media accounts but did not finish posting could have been accessed by the third party apps, Bar said. It said it would notify users whose photos might have been affected. Cambridge Analytica earlier this year revealed that the social networking site gathered data of tens of millions of people from the United States years back. If you may have been affected, Facebook will present you with a notification in its app along with a list of apps that may have had incorrect access to your photos. However, it doesn't appear you'll be able to actually do anything pertaining to the situation once you see that info - it's essentially Facebook saying, "Your photos may have been compromised, these are the companies which may have seen them".

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If you've been following Facebook in the news this year, you know that 2018 has been a particularly challenging year for the company, as it continues to face scrutiny over its user data management practices.

In January, Wired reported that a bug in Facebook's ad-targeting tools allowed advertisers to gain Facebook users' phone numbers from their email address and even allowed gave advertisers access to the phone numbers of users that visited a particular web page.

Facebook told Gizmodo in an email that the incident resulted from an error in a code update to the photo API between September 13 and September 25, adding that it found and fixed the bug on September 25.

The bug isn't as damning as some of its other scandals but it's not exactly a good look, either. This time around the company has come clean about discovering a bug in its photo API that allowed apps to access unposted photos from 6.8 million accounts. We'll see how things shake out.

The bigger issue here, as TechCrunch points out, is disclosure.

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