Face­book users’ posts ac­ci­den­tally made public

A gl­itch that lasted sev­eral days changed the pri­vacy set­tings for 14mil­lion, re­port says

The Mercury News Weekend - - SPORTS - By Se­ung Lee slee@ba­yare­anews­group.com

Face­book ad­mit­ted Thurs­day that 14 mil­lion users’ posts were ac­ci­den­tally made public for sev­eral days in May due to a tech­ni­cal bug.

The bug ac­ci­den­tally ac­tively changed the pri­vacy set­tings for 14mil­lion users around the world from May 18 un­til May 22, mak­ing all posts shared dur­ing that time vis­i­ble to the public, and the com­pany switched all set- tings back to the users’ pre­ferred set­tings by May 27, ac­cord­ing to press re­ports.

Af­fected Face­book users will soon get a notice on the app and web­site Thurs­day and re­ceive a link to all of their posts dur­ing the four days when the bug was ac­tive, ac­cord­ing to CNN, which first broke the news.

“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, in a state­ment. “We have fixed this is­sue and start­ing to­day we are let­ting ev­ery­one af­fected know and ask­ing them to re­view any posts they made dur­ing that time. We’d like to apol­o­gize for this mis­take.”

Egan also noted that the bug did not dis­close any pri­vate posts made be­fore May 18.

Face­book’s ad­mis­sion comes at a testy time for the Menlo Park­based so­cial net­work, which con­tin­ues to deal with a stream of pri­vacy-re­lated scan­dals set off by the rev­e­la­tion this year that po­lit­i­cal firm Cam­bridge An­a­lyt­ica had ob­tained mil­lions of users’ per­sonal in­for­ma­tion with­out their per­mis­sion.

Face­book was back in the spot­light in the past few days af­ter the New York Times re­ported that Face­book had data-shar­ing con­tracts with de­vice makers like Ap­ple and Sam­sung. It also re­port­edly shared data with Chi­nese smart­phone com­pa­nies like Huawei, whose smart­phones the heads of the Cen­tral In­tel­li­gence Agency, Fed­eral Bu­reau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion, Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency and the di­rec­tor of na­tional in­tel­li­gence warned U.S. cit­i­zens not to use in Fe­bru­ary.

Face­book said that the data-shar­ing re­la­tion­ships with­Huawei and other Chi­nese com­pa­nies were “con­trolled from the get-go.”

“All Face­book’s in­te­gra­tions with Huawei, Len­ovo, Oppo and TCL were con­trolled from the get-go — and Face­book ap­proved ev­ery­thing that was built,” said Fran­cisco Varela, Face­book’s vice pres­i­dent of­mo­bile part­ner­ships, to the New York Times. “Given the in­ter­est from Congress, we wanted to make clear that all the in­for­ma­tion from th­ese in­te­gra­tions with Huawei was stored on the de­vice, not on Huawei’s servers.”

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