Facebook made some private posts public for as many as 14M users

Facebook made some private posts public for as many as 14M users

Facebook made some private posts public for as many as 14M users

The issue arose from a bug affecting Facebook's "audience selector" tool, which allows users to decide whether to publish a post only to their friends or to a broader audience. Even if a user had set their default sharing option to "friends", the bug changed the setting for affected users to "public". In the meantime, Facebook has set any public posts from that period to users' previous default settings, meaning that even users who meant to make posts public will need to reset them to be globally accessible.

"We recently found a bug that automatically suggested posting publicly when some people were creating their Facebook posts", said Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer.

Facebook is now in the process of rolling out new privacy menus to all of its 2 billion users.

Facebook confirmed earlier this week that China-based Huawei - which has been banned by the USA military and is a lightning rod for cyberespionage concerns - was among device makers authorized to see user data in agreements that had been in place for years. The bug affected Facebook posts between May 18 and 27; although Facebook fixed the error on May 22, it took five days to reverse the problem for all affected posts.

According to TechCrunch, the bug was caused by a new tool Facebook is building called featured items, which "highlights photos and other content [on a user's profile]". People could have changed the individual audience setting on posts, but would have had to notice the setting was different from what they'd chosen.

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The idea of exploring long-form content is an extension of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's emphasis on video-sharing. However, the WSJ does note how these plans are "tentative and subject to change".

Affected Facebook users received a notification on the app or website starting Thursday.

Those affected by this latest issue will receive notifications from Facebook starting Thursday.

Facebook said it had reverted the audience settings to users' prior preference.

VentureBeat has reached out to Facebook for more information about who may have been affected and will update this story if we hear back.

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