Facebook revealed that a software bug changed the privacy settings of about 14 million users, possibly making posts intended for a limited audience instead be seen by everyone.
Facebook is currently dealing with several issues. Another knock against the lack of online privacy on the social network is the last thing that it needs right now, but here we are.
Facebook Privacy Settings Changed By Software Bug
In an official Facebook Newsroom post, the company revealed that it identified a bug that changed the default privacy settings for Facebook posts from May 18 to May 27.
When Facebook users share something on the social network, they are shown an audience selector to help them decide who sees the post, with the default choice based on the user’s last one. If a user shares a photo to everyone or only to friends, the audience selector will suggest the same choice on that user’s next post.
However, Facebook said that while testing a new feature, the suggested audience for all posts during the time was set to public.
Facebook users who have always chosen for their posts to only be seen by certain people may have not noticed that the default option for the audience selector was set to public. The social network said that it will be reaching out to these 14 million users to inform them of what happened and to ask them to review the posts that they made from May 18 to May 27 to check if there were private Facebook posts that were inadvertently shared to the public.
Technicians stopped the automatic selection of the public option in the audience selector on May 22, but it took until May 27 to fully restore the Facebook privacy settings for all affected users. Facebook, meanwhile, clarified that the bug did not affect posts that were made before and after the 10-day period.
Facebook Issues On Privacy
In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook is still finding its name involved in controversy. Just in June, there have already been multiple reports on Facebook privacy issues.
A bug found on the internet browsers Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox may have leaked Facebook data in 2016, and the company allegedly entered deals with at least 60 device makers to give the companies deep access to Facebook data.
Apple could not resist throwing shade at Facebook during WWDC 2018, when VP Craig Federighi unveiled the new anti-tracking features of Safari.