In an incident that lasted from May 18 to May 27 an engineering error showed up on Thursday from Facebook Inc. where 14 million users’ private posts were potentially exposed as this error mixed up the sharing settings of its 14 million users.
Facebook said due to the glitch it overwritten the existing settings of the affected users. According to the public announcement made by Facebook, it said that on May 22 they fixed the bug. However, to revert the settings of everyone affected fully which resulted into this big privacy concern it took another five long days for the social network’s engineers. Facebook has sent out a public apology as well as a notification to the 14 million users which were caught up in this glitch incident asking them to review their recent posts since the posts’ privacy settings were messed up due to this bug.
The recommended visibility settings for the posts, which is normally based on past activities and their manual privacy settings was all changed to public. Therefore as a result the status updates that the users intended to share with only a limited group of friends was available for everybody to see including the ones who are not even in their friend list.
It all occurred when Facebook was working to implement a spotlight “featured items” on their profiles in a whole new way. The plan was to make such items automatically public, but the social network accidentally applied this setting to all the other normal posts as well.
Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Egan said in a statement “We have fixed this issue, and, starting today, we are letting everyone affected know and asking them to review any posts they made during that time. 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. We’d like to apologize for this mistake.”
This latest debacle comes as Facebook is still trying to fix the reputation damage which was caused by its now-infamous dealings with Cambridge Analytics. This scandal sparked an immense outcry against the social network’s privacy practices and caused an affect to the data of 87 million users. The incident is one of the latest number of recent privacy debacles that has damaged Facebook’s privacy concerns. Just some days ago, it was also revealed how the company had shared user data with over 60 device makers, including several Chinese companies. Among the exposed user data were Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., which as of now over spying concerns is under the scrutiny of US government.