Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Tech | By Dwayne Harmon

Facebook notifies 14M users of a bug that made status posts public

Facebook notifies 14M users of a bug that made status posts public

Facebook said a software bug was behind the glotch which saw users' private posts made public over several days last month.

A bug was live from May 18 to May 27 where about 14 million Facebook users around the world had their default sharing setting for all new posts set to public, the company revealed. "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".

The fixes started rolling out on May 22 and Facebook seemed more than willing to stress that while they messed with your privacy settings users were still able, if they noticed, to change their settings back during that time.

"We'd like to apologise for this mistake", said Erin Egan, Facebook's head of privacy.

VentureBeat has reached out to Facebook for more information about who may have been affected and will update this story if we hear back.

The social network is working to rehabilitate its relationship with users after the Cambridge Analytica controversy, which drew renewed attention to how much data the company collects. The company said the bug stemmed from a public display of "featured items" at the top of user profiles.

Facebook said it will notify all users who may have been hit by the programming error. And while the bug was only in effect for a few days, it's an example of how many different settings users have to be aware of on Facebook.

Matt Navarra, who describes himself as a social and digital media consultant, tweeted a screen grab of the alert to users.

Over the past few days, Facebook has been under scrutiny for giving Chinese company Huawei access to users' data, even though the USA government has held that company under suspicion in the past over its ties to the country's communist government.

A Facebook booth is seen at the China International Big Data Industry Expo in Guiyang, Guizhou province, China, on May 27, 2018.

The company profited from a feature that meant apps could ask for permission to access your own data as well as the data of all your Facebook friends.

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