Tech

Facebook accidentally made 14 million users’ posts public in May, reports say

Facebook accidentally made 14 million users’ posts public in May, reports say

The web goliath said that aout 14 million people were affected by a bug that, for a nine-day span between May 18 and 27, caused profile posts to be set as public by default, allowing any Tom, Dick or Harriet to view the material. Even if a user had set their default sharing option to "friends", the bug changed the setting for affected users to "public".

"We'd like to apologize for this mistake", Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer, said in today's statement. The bug apparently affected 14 million people, although it seems Facebook doesn't know how many of those users may have actually posted something to the public.

Affected Facebook users received a notification on the app or website starting Thursday.

Over the past few days, Facebook has been under scrutiny for giving Chinese company Huawei access to users' data, even though the USA government has held that company under suspicion in the past over its ties to the country's communist government. Normally, Facebook makes it possible for users to share photos, text, or video only with family members, work colleagues, or other specially designated contacts and preventing anyone else from seeing the content.

Facebook said it had reverted the audience settings to users' prior preference.

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The bug became active on May 18th and Facebook started releasing a fix on the 22nd, though they didn't revert everyone's status settings until the 27th.

The company said the issue has been fixed and have blamed it on a software bug.

The news marked the latest in a series of privacy embarrassments for the world's biggest social network, which has faced a firestorm over the hijacking of personal data on tens of millions of users and more recently for disclosures on data-sharing deals with smartphone makers.

The firm added that the notification is part of Facebook's broader and recent efforts to be more transparent about its product and how its handling privacy issues.

Users can also manually change the privacy of the posts - anywhere from "public" to "only me" - when publishing to Facebook.


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