Facebook bug unblocked unwanted users

A Facebook bug quietly unblocked people that 800,000 of its users had previously blocked

The bug didn't reinstate any previously severed friend connections, Facebook says, and 83% of users the bug affected had only one previously blocked person temporarily unblocked.

The beleaguered social network confirmed in a company blog post today the existence of the bug, said it's fixed now and that the vast majority of users affected - 83 percent - had only person they'd blocked become temporarily unblocked. Over 800,000 users were affected by this bug between May 29 and June 5. "We know that the ability to block someone is important - and we'd like to apologize and explain what happened". While that may sound harmless - affecting only a tiny fraction of the 2.4 billion Facebook users - the bug isn't good news for anyone using Facebook's blocking feature to protect themselves from abuse and harassment.

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Facebook is primarily about connecting with other people, but its "block" functionality certainly has its place for avoiding those you don't want to be in touch with for one reason or another. Blocked users are also unable to send a friend request to the person who blocked them, while blocked friends are unfriended automatically. However, because of the bug, someone who was unblocked could have been able to message a user who had blocked them in the past. Users will be notified if the bug was linked to their accounts and will receive a Facebook notification "encouraging them to check their blocked list", the company said.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg earlier this year was grilled by the European Parliament and the US Congress about a massive breach of users' personal data in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

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