Monday December 16, 2019
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Facebook Admits Bug Unblocked People 800,000 Users’ List

The company said the issue has now been fixed and everyone has been blocked again

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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 over 800,000 users were affected by a bug on its platform and Messenger that unblocked some people these users had blocked.

The bug was active between May 29 and June 5 — and while someone who was unblocked could not see content shared with friends, they could have seen things posted to a wider audience, said Facebook.

“For example pictures shared with friends of friends. We know that the ability to block someone is important — and we’d like to apologise and explain what happened,” Erin Egan, Chief Privacy Officer at Facebook, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

When you block someone on Facebook, they cannot see things you post on your profile, start conversations with you on Messenger or add you as a friend.

Blocking also automatically unfriends them if you were previously friends.

“In the case of this bug, it did not reinstate any friend connections that had been severed,” Egan said.

Nearly 83 per cent of people affected by the bug had only one person they had blocked temporarily unblocked.

Also Read: Facebook Into Data-Sharing Partnership With 52 Companies

Someone who was unblocked might have been able to contact people on Messenger who had blocked them, Facebook noted.

The company said the issue has now been fixed and everyone has been blocked again.

“People who were affected will get a notification on Facebook encouraging them to check their blocked list,” the company said.

Facebook mobile app
Facebook mobile app. Pixabayfacebook 

Facebook has already been grappling with privacy issues like the Cambridge Analytica data scandal involving 87 million users and another bug that changed 14 million users’ privacy setting defaults to public.

“While 800,000 people is just a tiny fraction of the 2.2 billion Facebook user base, that is still a sizable number of affected users who may have been subject to concerning episodes,” The Verge reported. (IANS)

Next Story

Facebook Commits $130 mn to Build Global Oversight Board for Ensuring Accountability

Facebook intends to continue funding the board's operations in the future, and these reports will be used to assess the need for additional, substantive and long-term funding

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Facebook
Facebook said it has established the independent Oversight Board Trust to ensure the board can safeguard its ability to make independent decisions and recommendations. Pixabay

Facebook has made an initial commitment of $130 million to build a global oversight board that will ensure good governance and accountability across its services and platforms.

The initial funding will cover operational costs such as office space, staff and travel expenses and should allow the board to operate for at least its first two full terms, approximately six years, Brent Harris, Director of Governance and Global Affairs at Facebook, said in a statement.

The board will submit a yearly budget to the trust for approval and disbursement of funds.

Annual reports from the board and trust will help to document the health and effectiveness of the board, including its stewardship of these resources.

Facebook intends to continue funding the board’s operations in the future, and these reports will be used to assess the need for additional, substantive and long-term funding.

Last November, Mark Zuckerberg wrote about his vision for what content governance should look like for Facebook.

Facebook said it has established the independent Oversight Board Trust to ensure the board can safeguard its ability to make independent decisions and recommendations.

Facebook
Facebook has made an initial commitment of $130 million to build a global oversight board that will ensure good governance and accountability across its services and platforms. Pixabay

“The board will have its own staff, independent from Facebook. To start, we expect this staff to include a director, case managers and dedicated staff members (or contracted services) who can support things such as the board’s communications, legal, human resources and research needs,” said Harris.

ALSO READ: Google Maps Captures Over 10 mn Miles of Street View Imagery

In addition, said Facebook, it will continue to work with outside experts to source and review candidates for board membership, including those who’ve been recommended through the public portal, which we opened in September.

“We are eager to see the Oversight Board take shape and start hearing cases next year,” said Facebook. (IANS)