Social networking giant Facebook is grappling with yet another privacy crises. A bug in May changed the suggested privacy setting for status updates to public from whatever users had set it to last. This bug is set to have affected a whopping 14 million Facebook users. This bug automatically suggests posting publicly when these users create posts, rather than letting them choose whom to share it with.
Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer, Erin Egan clarified, “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 their mistake.”
The bug was active from the 18th of May to the 22nd. However, it took Facebook until the 27th to switch people’s status composer privacy setting back to what it was before the issue. This happened because Facebook was developing a “featured items” option on profiles that features photos and other content. These items were meant to be visible publicly, but Facebook accidently extended this setting to all new posts from the affected 14 million users.
The bug has now been fixed and all the affected users’ status setting composer has now been changed back to what it had been before the bug. The social networking titan relies heavily on privacy of its users for its continued popularity. In the immediate aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, this bug points to holes in Facebook’s privacy policies and highlights technical oversights.