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Facebook bug switched 14 million users’ privacy settings to public

If users did not notice the new default suggestion, they unwittingly sent their post to a broader audience than they had intended.

Facebook said a software bug led some users to post publicly by default. Regardless of their previous settings. The bug affected as many as 14 million users over several days in May. The problem, which Facebook said it has fixed, is the latest privacy scandal for the world’s largest social media company. It said the bug automatically suggested that users make new posts public. Even if they had previously restricted posts to “friends only” or another private setting.

If users did not notice the new default suggestion, they unwittingly sent their post to a broader audience than they had intended. Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, said the bug did not affect past posts. Facebook is notifying users who were affected. And posted publicly during the time the bug was active. Advising them to review their posts.

Facebook did make attempts to tighten these gaps and had made some strides. From teaching kids how their data is used to placing limits on how user data is shared with third parties. Just when it appeared those wounds were healed, Facebook have taken a few steps backwards again. According to Facebook itself, the publishing settings of users with private posts was changed to public without the consent of said users.

This means if your posts were accessible only to a distinct group of users – such as your friends or individuals and not your entire friends list- they may have been suddenly changed to public without your knowledge. This is a big deal because total strangers would have access to your pictures and other information you probably don’t want them to have.

he bug affected 14 million users which is just a fraction of Facebook’s 2.19 billion users. 0.63% if we are being exact. It’s a drop in the ocean but because of the timing and the general conversation around Facebook right now this will definitely bring back controversy and conversations concerning regulation with regards to the social site.

If you’re wondering whether you were affected by this issue you can just check your notifications as Facebook is notifying affected users:

 

With this incident Facebook came clean on their own and no one had to stumble upon it like the Cambridge Analytica incident.

 

Sipho Mhlanga

"I didn't come this far, only to come this far. "

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