A bug in Facebook has changed the privacy setting of some posts to public, causing the social media giant to notify 14 million users that could have been affected. While the bug is not tagged as major, it could have prompted some people to accidentally post status messages as public, which were otherwise meant for friends.
“We recently found a bug that automatically suggested posting publicly when some people were creating their Facebook posts,” wrote Erin Egan, Chief Privacy Officer at Facebook. “Today we started letting the 14 million people 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.”
The bug was discovered on May 18, and Facebook issued a fix on May 22 but did not undo the status of any posts made public. However, the recently introduced fix does restore the privacy settings that were applied before the issue occurred.
“This bug occurred as we were building a new way to share featured items on your profile, like a photo,” wrote Egan. “Since these featured items are public, the suggested audience for all new posts – not just these items – was set to public.”
In light of recent scandals involving how Facebook has handled the personal information of its users, this recent Facebook announcement ends with a note that suggests they’re willing to do everything in their power to ensure transparency of such matters.
Those affected by the bug will receive a notification when they log into the platform and they’ll be asked to review their post activity from that timeframe.