Facebook has had another privacy mishap, this time announcing a recent bug that may have caused up to 14 million users’ new posts to appear publicly even if they had previously chosen a more private default setting such as “friends only.”
The company said Thursday that over several days last month ― from May 18 to May 27 ― a bug had caused affected users’ new posts to automatically be set to “public,” overriding their usual privacy settings, which may have restricted who could view their posts and photos.
The company said it had fixed the bug, changing the settings of all of new posts published over that period back to the affected users’ previous settings. The bug didn’t affect older posts, the company said.
“We’d like to apologize for this mistake,” Facebook’s chief privacy officer, Erin Egan, said in a statement.
Starting Thursday, the company began notifying the 14 million users who had posted during the time of the bug so they could review their posts’ settings.
A Facebook representative said in the statement that the company had heard “loud and clear” that it needed to be more transparent about “when things go wrong” ― and this notification was part of that effort.
The mishap comes on the tail of several privacy scandals involving the social network in recent months.
Over the past few days, Facebook has been under scrutiny for giving Chinese company Huawei access to users’ data, even though the U.S. government has held that company under suspicion in the past over its ties to the country’s communist government. Huawei said it never misused the data.
And in April, Facebook admitted that data from up to 87 million users may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica ― a political research firm that worked with Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress about the breach.