Facebook apologizes for mistakenly exposing up to 14M users’ posts

Facebook flaw changed millions of users’ posts from private to public

After the bug was detected, Facebook engineers spent 5 days resetting posts created by affected users to private, even if that was the original intent.

Posts are public by default for new accounts, but every Facebook user can limit who sees each post by using what the company calls an "audience selector".

For a period of four days in May, about 14 million Facebook users around the world had their default sharing setting for all new posts set to public, the company revealed Thursday.

Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer, said the bug did not affect past posts. The affected users will then be shown which posts were marked public during the glitch.

The company is also still recovering from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which a Trump-affiliated data-mining firm got access to the personal data of as many as 87 million Facebook users. The message from Facebook urged users to "Please Review Your Posts", and gave them a link to a list of what they shared on Facebook while the bug was active. 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.




Spotted by Recode, posts from up to 14 million Facebook users that had their content set to be shared privately was changed to be publicly seen. People could have changed the individual audience setting on posts, but would have had to notice the setting was different from what they'd chosen.

The mistake happened, that company said, when it was building a new way for people to share "featured items" on their profiles.

One of Facebook's key privacy features is that it lets people decide an audience for their posts.

While many phone makers have said any data pulled through those channels only resided on phones, not on company servers, some critics have questioned how certain Facebook can be that those statements are true.

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