- Facebook said Thursday that a software bug made some private posts public for as many as 14 million users over several days in May.
The news marked the latest in a series of privacy embarrassments for the world's biggest social network, which has faced a firestorm over the hijacking of personal data on tens of millions of users and more recently for disclosures on data-sharing deals with smartphone makers.
In the status update box at the top of a user's News Feed, they have the option to select who they would like to share their post with - "public", "friends", or "friends except for".
"We'd like to apologize for this mistake", said Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer, in a statement. They'll see a message from Facebook urging users to "Please Review Your Posts" and a link to a list of what they shared on Facebook while the bug was active.
The bug was a result of a new feature that Facebook was developing to give users a different way of sharing certain content.
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This bug affects posts shared between May 18 and May 22.
Facebook has another privacy screw-up on its hands. 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. That default was changed to public for the 14 million users, but if affected users noticed, they could have manually switched the setting themselves.
"It will take some time to work through all the changes we need to make across the company", Zuckerberg said on the first day of hearings. "These featured items are publicly visible, but Facebook inadvertently extended that setting to all new posts from those users".
As Recode points out, the private/public setting on Facebook will be the same for new posts as it was on previous ones. That way, users can reset a post that was inadvertently set to public back to being shared just with friends if they would like.