Facebook privacy-settings bug affected as many as 14 million users

Marion JacobsJun 08, 2018

It was found that the bug occurred between May 18 and 27, which automatically suggested a public audience when a post was being created.

Last month, a software bug inadvertently switched the default privacy settings of 14 million users to public.

"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", Egan said.

"Starting today we are letting everyone affected know and asking them to review any posts they made during that time", Egan said.

It's the latest privacy scandal in what has been a hard few months for the world's largest social media company. If I limit a post's audience to just friends from high school, for instance, Facebook will make that the default audience setting on all of the posts I make from then on.

Affected Facebook users will soon get a notice on the app and website Thursday and receive a link to all of their posts during the four days when the bug was active, according to CNN, which first broke the news. While the company says it stopped the error on May 22, it was not able to change all the posts back to their original privacy parameters until later.

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It turns out that when the company discovered the issue, its employees went back and changed posts shared by those 14 million users during that time back to the setting they had previously selected.

Facebook's admission comes at a testy time for the Menlo Park-based social network, which continues to deal with a stream of privacy-related scandals set off by the revelation this year that political firm Cambridge Analytica had obtained millions of users' personal information without their permission.

These items, which include posts and photo albums, are automatically public.

The cockup is thought to have stemmed from new features Facebook was testing to allow users to share "featured" items on their profile that are set to "public" viewability.

That's because the company had promised that the setting users set in their most recent privacy preferences would be maintained for future posts. "The problem has been fixed, and we changed the audience of any posts you made to what you had been using before, just in case".

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