Facebook Bug Changed Privacy Settings of Up to 14 Million Users

Facebook Bug Changed Privacy Settings of Up to 14 Million Users

Even if the bug was an accident on Facebook's part, Mayer said in an email that the FTC can bring enforcement action for privacy mistakes.

The glitch was active between 18 and 22 May, a spokeswoman added, but it took the site until 27 May to switch posts back to private - or whatever the user had typically used before the bug became apparent.

In a statement provided to Engadget, Facebook chief privacy officer Erin Egan wrote: "We recently found a bug that automatically suggested posting publicly when some people were creating their Facebook posts".

But, for four days in May, the bug ignored user preferences and set the default audience for all new posts to "public", the company said. 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.

It was unclear if users could have done anything to their settings to prevent being affected by the bug the company revealed on Thursday. Those were set to be publicly visible, but Facebook accidentally extended that setting to all new posts.

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Facebook has another privacy screw-up on its hands.

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".

Huawei, a company flagged by USA intelligence officials as a national security threat, was the latest device maker at the center of a fresh wave of allegations over Facebook's handling of private data.

The news followed a recent furor over Facebook's sharing of user data - oversharing, in the eyes of many critics.

For example, the site made it easier for users to download all the data Facebook has on them, as well as gave them greater control over what sites the company is able to share their personal information with, such as advertisers and research firms. Facebook will also flag for the user which posts they shared between May 18 and May 27, and will show them what the privacy setting was on that post.

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