Facebook’s Latest Privacy Slip
It doesn’t look like this year is getting any better for Facebook. Recently, the tech giant reported a bug which led some Facebook users to post content publicly, regardless of their previous privacy settings. According to the tech company, the bug, which was reported on Thursday, has affected as many as 14 million Facebook users.
This is how the error happened
According to Facebook, a software bug is responsible for changing an essential privacy setting automatically. The setting, which determines who can see users’ new posts, is sticky, which means it remains consistent from post to post unless it is changed manually by the user.
The way it should work, once the setting on an account is set to share only with a selected group of Facebook “friends”, the posts will be visible only to them unless the user updates the setting. The software bug, however, changed the setting to “public” for over 14 million users without any warning to them. This was the reason why people, who were posting content thinking that they were sharing their post with a select group of Facebook friends, may have shared that content with everyone.
The bug did not, however, affect past posts, according to Erin Egan, the chief privacy officer of Facebook. The company has started notifying users who were impacted by to the bug and advised them to review the content that they had posted during the time the bug was active.
Facebook dealing with issues the ‘Mature’ way
Facebook, which has not yet recovered from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, dealt with this scandal in a mature way because it disclosed the bug instead of hiding it from the users. According to CNN, it took a little over five days for Facebook to reveal this problem to its users after it fixed it.
Facebook attributes the speed of sharing the bug with the public to its new transparent and proactive way of handling issues. Egan wrote in his blog post, “We’ve heard loud and clear that we need to be more transparent about how we build our products and how those products use your data – including when things go wrong. And that is what we are doing here.”
One of the main reasons why Facebook disclosed this privacy blunder with its users is that “it cannot blame the bug on outsiders.” The company is run by humans who can make mistakes, and even small mistakes can affect millions of people using the platform. In light of this, even if you have not posted anything on the social media platform during the time of the bug’s effect (mid to late May), it’s probably a good idea to review your privacy and security settings.
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