With every passing day, Facebook (FB) is giving its users more reasons to believe their accounts are no longer secure. And, it seems there is no end in sight to the controversies surrounding the social media firm and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The latest slip up by Facebook could raise concerns even among those hardcore fans who maintained their trust in it despite the recent data breach scandals.
The social-networking company this week admitted that a technical glitch in the users’ privacy settings made a huge volume of private messages accessible to ‘public’. It is learned that as many as 14 million people were affected by the software bug, which the company claims to have resolved.
According to sources, the bug intruded into users’ profiles and reset their privacy preferences, making private posts visible to virtually everyone who uses the platform. The software error apparently removed restrictions applied by users, such as ‘friends only’ and ‘only me’, by tweaking a default setting that tracks the audience of the most recent post before sharing new posts to those members.
Confirming the matter and apologizing to those affected, Facebook’s chief privacy officer said, “We recently found a bug that automatically suggested posting publicly when some people were creating their Facebook posts.” According to him, the bug was active from May 18 to May 22.
A technical glitch in the users’ privacy settings made a huge volume of private messages accessible to ‘public’
It is suspected to have crept in while Facebook was adding a new feature to improve the way users share ‘featured items’ on their profiles. By default, the featured items are set to be visible to everyone.
Though it may look like a minor issue, the outcome of the goof-up could be devastating if the contents of the shared posts are highly confidential or too personal, such as telephone numbers and photographs. By the time the error was detected, millions of users had made multiple posts oblivious of the exposure.
Still embroiled in the simmering data breach scandal involving UK-based Cambridge Analytica, Facebook was hit by a fresh controversy this week following allegations that the company had forged a partnership with China-based Huawei Technologies for making Facebook-branded apps. The revelation once again underscored the need for stricter regulations, considering Huawei’s cloudy reputation and close links with the Chinese government.
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