A Facebook Bug Accidentally Changed The Privacy Settings Of 14 Million Users


Jonathan O'Callaghan

Senior Staff Writer

Denys Prykhodov/Shutterstock

Oops. Facebook has said that a bug accidentally exposed posts from millions of users on the site, the latest issue to hit the company after, you know, everything else.

The bug apparently affected 14 million users, and accidentally turned posts that they wanted to share privately with friends and family into public posts. It was active for 10 days in May, and changed posts to public without telling users.


The company revealed the bug yesterday, saying it affected users from May 18 to May 27. If you were one of those affected, you’ll receive a notification saying “Please Review Your Posts” to alert you to the error.

“We have fixed this issue, and, starting today, we are letting everyone affected know and asking them to review any posts they made during that time,” Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, said in a statement.

“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 this mistake.”

As noted in the statement, the bug occurred as developers were trying to find a new way to share photos and other items. In so doing, however, they accidentally set all new posts to public by default.

You'll get this notification if you might have been affected. Facebook

Usually, posts are normally set to be shared with friends and family by default, which means that someone who isn’t your friend that visits your profile can’t see it. You can tell if it’s public at the top of the post, where there’s a little “globe” symbol (for public) or two people, for friends.

Facebook is asking users to review any posts made in that window, to check for any changes. They note that it did not affect any posts made previously. And if you changed the privacy settings yourself, then it probably didn’t get changed.

“Out of an abundance of caution we are letting anyone affected know today and asking them to review Facebook posts they made during that time,” Egan continued.

“We’ve heard loud and clear that we need to be more transparent about how we build our products and how those products use your data – including when things go wrong. And that is what we are doing here.”


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