Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Electronics | By Shannon Stone

Facebook made some private posts public for as many as 14M

Facebook made some private posts public for as many as 14M

Facebook is now in the process of alerting millions of its users of a bug that occurred last month that might have made posts meant for a limited audience appear publicly.

Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer, was quick to apologize for the mistake, but the question remains: can we still trust Facebook? This time it was caused by an internal bug that caused any new posts created by 14 million Facebook users to be posted publicly rather than using their default setting.

"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, affected users will begin seeing messages from Facebook that encourage them to "Please Review Your Posts".

A Facebook post's privacy settings, with a checkmark next to the users' chosen default setting.

The news follows recent furore over Facebook's sharing of user data with device makers, including China's Huawei.

The company told TechCrunch the glitch happened while testing a new "featured items" option on profiles that allows users to highlight photos and other content. If they don't check to make sure that they have the correct settings before hitting "post", they may be sharing sensitive information with users they didn't intend to.

Facebook, which has 2.2 billion users, says the bug was active from May 18 until May 27.

One of Facebook's key privacy features is that it lets people decide an audience for their posts. The software flaw was apparently live for 10 days last month and the company didn't give users any kind of warning.

After Facebook employees discovered the bug, the company went back and changed the privacy settings for all posts shared by those 14 million users during that time. These prompts will include a link to what may have been shared during the period before the bug was fixed by Facebook.

The bug affected as many as 14 million people, the company said.

It's the latest in a series of revelations about Facebook's privacy lapses.

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