Facebook has acknowledged that a recently discovered bug was automatically suggesting that Facebook posts be made public — even if the user wanted that post to be limited to a much smaller audience of friends. The bug affected up to 14 million users.
Facebook made an announcement about the bug on its own blog, calling it an “audience selector error.” The company is now notifying the 14 million users who were affected by the bug, and is “asking them to review any posts they made during that time.”
The bug did not affect any prior posts, nor did it force users to make a public post. However, it seems completely feasible that a user might quickly publish a Facebook post without paying any attention to the selected audience — this could easily cause users to publish to a much wider audience than they planned.
[Some larger websites have to be more transparent with data now — because of the GDPR.]
Facebook does not specify in its blog post when this bug was active, or how long it lasted. However, a screenshot in the post does seem to note the “technical error” affected posts made between May 18-27 this year.
Quite A Year
It’s been a challenging year for Facebook — this bug is relatively minor when compared to the other issues facing the company, which all seemed to come to the surface after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined a plan to improve Facebook data security.
What needed improving? Well, a lot. The company has already suspended 200 apps for possible data misuse, after Cambridge Analytica. Private messages were scanned for “questionable content.” The company collected data from Android users for years. A separate data leak may have exposed millions of users’ personal data, as well.
Facebook has been offering updates on what it’s doing, and a Clear History tool is coming soon. But it’s clear there’s still a lot of work to be done.