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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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Before its collapse, Cambridge Analytica insisted it had indeed wiped the data after Facebook's erasure request in December 2015. Pixabay
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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)

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Facebook Is Planning To launch It’s Own Satellite ‘ATHENA’

A high altitude platform station (HAPS) system, Aquila's mission, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, was to connect the world and help people who do not have online access all the opportunities of the Internet.

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Facebook is working on launching Athena, its own Internet satellite, early in 2019, the WIRED reported. Pixabay

 As part of its plan to connect billions of people who are still offline, Facebook is working on launching Athena, its own Internet satellite, early in 2019, the WIRED reported.

According to an application Facebook appears to have filed with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the name PointView Tech LLC, the project is designed to “efficiently provide broadband access to unserved and underserved areas throughout the world,” the report said on Friday.

Facebook, however, is not alone in aiming to increase Internet accessibility through satellites in low Earth orbit. Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Softbank-backed OneWeb are two other prominent names who have similar ambitions.

Facebook also confirmed that Athena is their project, according to the report in the WIRED.

“While we have nothing to share about specific projects at this time, we believe satellite technology will be an important enabler of the next generation of broadband infrastructure, making it possible to bring broadband connectivity to rural regions where Internet connectivity is lacking or non-existent,” a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying in a statement.

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The project is designed to “efficiently provide broadband access to unserved and underserved areas throughout the world,” the report said on Friday. Pixabay

While Facebook had long expressed its cherished goal of connecting billions of underserved people around the world, it has not had much success with two earlier projects.

In June, Facebook announced it decided to abandon its plan to develop high-flying solar-powered drones called Aquila that was aimed to deliver Internet to nearly four billion people in remote parts of the world.

A high altitude platform station (HAPS) system, Aquila’s mission, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, was to connect the world and help people who do not have online access all the opportunities of the Internet.

Facebook began Aquila project in 2014. In 2017, the solar-powered drone successfully completed the second full-scale test flight.

The social network also discontinued in 2017 a small helicopter drone project that could temporarily replace cellular services in emergency situations, The Verge reported.

Also Read-Facebook’s Helicopter Drone Project Got Grounded: Report

The idea was to send a helicopter equipped with telecommunications equipment hundreds of metres up in the air to be able to tether to fibre and power lines in places where wireless capacity was compromised due to disaster or other factors. (IANS)