Facebook apologises for privacy glitch

Posted on June 11, 2018


Social media titan Facebook is once again in the spotlight for the wrong reasons, as it issues an apology for a glitch that affected the privacy of as many as 14 million users.

At the back end of last week the company said that

it was planning to notify up to 14 million of its users that the content that they had posted to the site privately had been published publicly, meaning anyone could have seen these posts.

Facebook has said that the issue came to light following a glitch that affected the company’s “audience selector” tool. This allows the site’s users to select who can view their posts when they publish them. This can be set to show posts strictly to friends, select groups or to a wider audience. By default, the setting usually remains on the option that was last used so that users do not have to keep selecting the option should they wish to keep the control on the same setting.

While the glitch was active, which is believed to be from May 18 to 27, the setting was automatically set to public.

The chief privacy officer of Facebook, Erin Egan, said in a statement that the issue has now been corrected by the company and anyone who was affected by the problem will be notified asking them to review posts they made during the 10-day window concerned.

Facebook has reverted to all previous settings for the affected users, with the notification giving them an explanation about what has happened along with an apology and the request to check their posts during the time the bug was active.

This latest issue comes as a big blow to Facebook, with the company still trying to rebuild the trust it lost during the Cambridge Analytica scandal that hit the headlines back in February this year. Furthermore, the timing of this setback is not great for European users, with privacy being a big topic on this side of the Atlantic with the new GDPR regulation coming into effect during the glitch, on May 25. This new regulation makes privacy much stricter, with laws giving people more access to the data held on them.

Facebook’s quick admission to the problems it is facing would appear to be part of the company’s efforts to increase its transparency and show users what is happening, although they would no doubt prefer it if problems such as this were not happening in the first place.

Operations Manager at Engage Web
Drawing from a broad pool of experience that ranges from university studies in English Language to his work as a medical receptionist in a busy GP practice, Alan fits right at home as Engage Web’s Operations Manager.
Alan Littler
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