Facebook glitch shared 14 million users' private posts publicly

The company's chief privacy officer shared a very brief statement, "We'd like to apologize for this mistake".

Facebook says it didn't make the posts private until May 27, so it's possible that mere acquaintances could have seen sensitive info during that nine-day span.

She said Facebook is also notifying users who posted publicly during the time the bug was active to review their posts.

The news follows recent furor over Facebook's sharing of user data with device makers, including China's Huawei.

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

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Facebook said it estimates 14 million people did so - and so has started notifying users.

For a few days last month, a software bug caused 14 million Facebook users' default setting for sharing content to be "public", meaning that some of their posts meant to be kept private were accessible to anyone on the internet, the company said Thursday. These featured items are publicly visible, but Facebook inadvertently extended that setting to all new posts from those users.

Huawei, a company flagged by US intelligence officials as a national security threat, was the latest device maker at the center of a fresh wave of allegations over Facebook's handling of private data. 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. That default was changed to public for the 14 million users, but if affected users noticed, they could have manually switched the setting themselves. The company has persuaded billions of people to share personal details about their lives on the understanding that they have complete control over who can see what stuff. And while the bug was only in effect for a few days, it's an example of how many different settings users have to be aware of on Facebook.

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  • Delia Davidson