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Facebook Admits “Bug” Exposed Private Posts Of 14 Million Users

Bug made private posts of 14mn users public, admits Facebook

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Facebook, video chat
LinkedIn faced probe for Facebook ads targeting 18 mn non-members. Pixabay

In yet another privacy goof-up, Facebook has admitted that 14 million users were affected by a bug in May that automatically suggested posting publicly when the users were writing posts meant only for friends.

The bug made sure that the posts could be viewed by anyone, including people not logged on to Facebook. It was not yet known users in which country were affected the most.

The bug, according to Erin Egan, Chief Privacy Officer at Facebook, occurred as the Facebook developers were building a new way to share featured items on users’ profile, like a photo.

“Since these featured items are public, the suggested audience for all new posts — not just these items — was set to public.

“The problem has been fixed, and for anyone affected, we changed the audience back to what they had been using before,” Egan said in a blog post late Thursday.

The revelation came after a New York Times report exposed how the social network allowed about 60 device makers, including Chinese smartphone players, to access personal information of users and their friends.

Facebook admitted sharing users’ data with Chinese company Huawei — facing the heat in the US over data privacy concerns — along with three other China-based smartphone makers Lenovo, OPPO and TCL.

The latest bug affected audience selector that lets users decide who gets to see the post.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

Starting Thursday, “we have 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,” Egan said.

It took Facebook developers five days to fix the bug.

“If you posted publicly (during the period May 18 to 27), you’ll see a notification from Facebook when you log in that leads to a page with more information — including a review of posts during this period,” said Egan.

Every time you share something on Facebook, it shows you an audience selector so users can decide who gets to see the post.

Also Read: Facebook has Rolled Out a New Feature for Music Lovers

For example, if you choose to share a photo with friends only, your audience selector will automatically suggest you share to friends next time you start a post.

“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,” Egan said.

Facebook is already under intense scrutiny for misuse of millions of its users’ data after the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal became public. (IANS)

Next Story

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Probably Having a Secret TikTok Account: Report

In November last year, Facebook quietly released a stand-alone app called "Lasso" to compete with TikTok

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Facebook's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 24, 2018. VOA

Probably to crack the TikTok model, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been spotted via a ‘secret account on the Chinese short video-sharing app TikTok which has become a headache for the social networking giant — from the US to India.

The account is not yet verified but uses the handle “@finkd”, which is the same as Zuckerberg’s handle on Twitter, BuzzFeedNews reported on Wednesday. The account has a modest 4,055 followers without any post.

The account currently follows 61 celebrities like Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez, but mostly TikTok superstars like Loren Gray and Jacob Sartorius.

The report said that in 2016, Zuckerberg invited Musical.ly cofounder Alex Zhu to Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters in California but the talks did not materialise.

In 2017, Musical.ly was bought by Chinese tech giant ByteDance for around $800 million and merged with its existing short-form video app Douyin to form TikTok which has over 800 million users globally, including 200 million in India.

To take on TikTok’s growing popularity, Facebook-owned Instagram has launched a new video-music remix feature called “Reels”.

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TikTok has over 54 million monthly active users (MAUs) in India. Pixabay

“Reels” will let users make 15-second video clips set to music and share them as Stories.

Just like TikTok, users can soundtrack their ‘Reels’ with a huge catalog of music, or borrow the audio from anyone else’s video to create a remix of their meme or joke.

Zuckerberg recently said that in India, TikTok has gone ahead of Instagram. He also mentioned that TikTok works much like Instagram’s Explore feature.

Also Read: Huami Joins Hands with Reliance Digital to Strengthen its Presence in India

Platforms such as Instagram and Facebook are facing strong competition from TikTok in India. TikTok owner now plans to invest $1 billion in India despite the calls to ban the app.

In November last year, Facebook quietly released a stand-alone app called “Lasso” to compete with TikTok. (IANS)