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Facebook bug exposed private posts of 14 million users to public

Facebook bug exposed private posts of 14 million users to public

The social media giant Facebook said on Thursday that a critical bug exposed private posts of 14 million users to public – Simply put: Facebook users who choose their posts to be displayed to the people on their list had exposed their posts to outsiders and anyone could see what was being shared or published on the timeline.

According to a statement from Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer: “We recently found a bug that automatically suggested posting publicly when some people were creating their Facebook posts.”

The bug occurred while Facebook was working on a new way to share certain user’s profile elements, such as photos. The bug affected the network from May 18th to 27th. However, Facebook was able to fix the problem on May 22nd, but it took additional five days for all the posts to be private again.

“We have fixed this issue and starting today (Thursday) we are letting everyone affected know and asking them to review any posts they made during that time,” Egan said. “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. We’d like to apologize for this mistake.”

The bug which affected over 14 million users came at a time when Facebook is involved in several controversies related to privacy and data breaches including Cambridge Analytica, Localblox, myPersonality and the most recent scandal in which the company has been accused of sharing user’s personal data with over 60 smartphone manufacturers including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, and Samsung etc.

A software bug was blamed for the issue, which impacted around 14 million users. Any posts affected by this issue have been reset to adhere to the user’s default privacy setting, meaning any accidental public posts are back to private. The damage for some users may be done, though, underscoring the need to exercise caution about what is posted online.

The social network is pushing out a notification to alert the ~14 million users to the security lapse. That alert will be given in the form of a notification placed at the top of their News Feed. According to Facebook, the alert is rolling out to feeds starting today.

Users are encouraged to review their recent posts to make sure none of them are public when they should be private. Users can manually change the privacy setting on the post after it has been published, but obviously that will not retroactively change whether people saw the update who weren’t supposed to.

In case you feel like deleting your Facebook account here is an updated 2018 guide showing step by step how to permanently delete your Facebook account.

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