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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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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

Political ad Spend on Facebook Picks up in April

The 2019 Lok Sabha election is being held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19

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FILE - The Facebook app icon is shown on an iPhone in New York. VOA

Political parties and their affiliates ramped up spending on social media ads ahead of the third phase of Lok Sabha elections, scheduled for Tuesday, show data released by Facebook Ad Library.

Indians spent around Rs 7 crore for running political ads on Facebook and Instagram in the first 20 days of April, while the amount spent on these platforms in February-March was about Rs 10 crore.

Facebook’s Ad Library, a searchable database, includes ads related to politics and issues of national importance run on Facebook or Instagram.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its affiliates continue to lead the ad spending on Facebook. The official BJP page took the top spot in the list of spenders on social media platforms. Of the Rs 1.3 crore that it spent on Facebook, Rs 44.32 lakh was spent during the week ending April 20.

The official Congress page on Facebook spent Rs 56.69 lakh during February-April 20.

However, supporters and affiliates of political parties account for most of the spending on the social media platforms.

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FILE – An Indian man surfs a Facebook page at an Internet cafe in New Delhi, India, Feb. 9, 2016. VOA

For example, the pro-BJP pages — Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat (Rs 2.23 core), My First Vote For Modi (Rs 1.08 crore) and Nation with NaMo (Rs 1.20 crore) among others — spent much more than the Congress.

Similarly, the pro-Congress page “Bande Mein Hai Dum” spent Rs 2.59 lakh for drumming up support for the grand old party on Facebook and the Indian Youth Congress spent Rs 6.52 lakh on the social media platform.

Among the regional parties, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the YSR Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) lead the spending table on Facebook.

Also Read- Warning for WhatsApp Users in UAE Issued: Report

On Twitter, the accounts spending over $100 during the past week belonged to BJP MLA from Mandawa Narendra Kumar, Mumbai Congress unit chief Milind Deora, Congress leader and former Union Minister Subodh Kant Sahai, BJD President Naveen Patnaik and the TN Youth Party.

The 2019 Lok Sabha election is being held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. (IANS)