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Facebook bug switched privacy settings of 14 million accounts to 'public'

08 June, 2018, 03:07 | Author: Lloyd Doyle
  • Well shucks

The company's chief privacy officer shared a very brief statement, "We'd like to apologize for this mistake". The company said on Thursday the bug automatically suggested that users make new posts public, even if they had previously restricted to "friends only" or another private setting.

But, for four days in May, the bug ignored user preferences and set the default audience for all new posts to "public", the company said.

Facebook said this affected users posting between May 18 and May 27 as it was implementing a new way to share some items such as photos. People could have changed the individual audience setting on posts, but would have had to notice the setting was different from what they'd chosen.

For a few days last month, a software bug caused 14 million Facebook users' default setting for sharing content to be "public", meaning that some of their posts meant to be kept private were accessible to anyone on the internet, the company said Thursday.

Users who were affected by the bug will start receiving a notification on Facebook starting Thursday.


Facebook reassured users the problem has now been fixed.

Facebook tells TechCrunch that it hears loud and clear that it must be more transparent about its product and privacy settings, especially when it messes up. However, it appears that the company didn't change the settings back to what the users had set until May 27.

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.

'Within the United States alone, we have played a pivotal role in winning presidential races as well as congressional and state elections, ' with data on more than 230 million American voters, Cambridge Analytica claims on its website.

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