IT&Software

Facebook notifies 14M users of a bug that made status posts public

Facebook notifies 14M users of a bug that made status posts public

Facebook has revealed a new bug that switched 14 million users' privacy settings to public without their knowledge. Facebook just admitted that the posts of as many as 14 million users who thought they were posting contents visible to only their friends, may have actually been shared publicly. Your secrets are safe - unless someone saw them, of course.

The bug affected posts shared between May 18 and May 27, though Facebook started rolling out a fix on May 22.

Affected users will see an alert in their notifications about the error and will be able to review the posts that went public.

Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer, said this did not affect past posts. To be clear, this bug did not impact anything people had posted before - and they could still choose their audience just as they always have.

"It will take some time to work through all the changes we need to make across the company", Zuckerberg said on the first day of hearings.

How did this happen? Even if a user had set their default sharing option to "friends", the bug changed the setting for affected users to "public".

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Jonathan Mayer, a professor of computer science and public affairs at Princeton University, said on Twitter that this latest privacy gaffe "looks like a viable Federal Trade Commission/state attorney general deception case".

Facebook has been hit by another privacy scandal.

Facebook, which has 2.2 billion users, says the bug was active from May 18 until May 27.

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

Facebook, which said it discovered the bug, has not yet shared details about who may have accessed the exposed data, or how that access may have occurred.

Facebook's 2011 consent decree with the FTC calls for the company to get "express consent" from users before sharing their information beyond what they established in their privacy settings.


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