Facebook glitch shared 14 million users' private posts publicly

  • Facebook glitch shared 14 million users' private posts publicly

Facebook glitch shared 14 million users' private posts publicly

After the bug was detected, Facebook engineers spent 5 days resetting posts created by affected users to private, even if that was the original intent.

"We'd like to apologise for this mistake", said Erin Egan, Facebook's head of privacy. 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.

Facebook said it would be notifying the 14 million users who had posted publicly between May 18 and 22.

Facebook said it will reach out to the users who are thought to have been affected by the bug. "We'd like to apologise for this mistake".

What did the bug do?

When users post to Facebook, there is a menu option that dictates who sees that post.

Facebook posts typically default to the last "audience" a post was shared with, such as family members, friends, or friends except their boss. That way, users can reset a post that was inadvertently set to public back to being shared just with friends if they would like.

According to the company, a software bug automatically updated the audience for some users' posts from "friends only " to public without any warning. Facebook will also flag for the user which posts they shared between May 18 and May 27, and will show them what the privacy setting was on that post.

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.

While relatively minor compared to recent issues facing the company, the glitch is another embarrassing slip-up for a firm already under heavy fire over privacy concerns.

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

This week, it has been answering questions about the nature of data-sharing deals with handset makers including Chinese manufacturers Huawei and ZTE.