A bug affected about 14 million Facebook users around the world by setting their default sharing settings to public for all their new posts. This took place over between 18 and 27 May.
The company, according to a CNN report on 7 June, revealed that this occurred while it was testing a new feature that would allow people to share "featured items" on their profiles. Later, when employees discovered the bug, the company went back and changed the privacy settings for all the posts shared by those 14 million users during those four days.
It took five days for the employees to fix what is yet another data-privacy scandal affecting the world's largest social media company. To restore privacy, Facebook went ahead and individually set posts from the affected users to private. Unfortunately, this included posts that were meant to be public in the first place.
The company told CNN that users, starting 7 June, would get a notification on their desktop and mobile apps about the changes made. They will get a message from Facebook asking them to "Please Review Your Posts". Along with this, Facebook will include a link to a list of all the posts that they shared on Facebook while the bug was active.
"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 told CNN. "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. To be clear, this bug did not impact anything people had posted before – and they could still choose their audience just as they always have."
Facebook has been getting into a lot of trouble recently. Recently, Facebook had confirmed that it had data-sharing partnerships with Chinese companies, including Huawei, which has come under scrutiny from US intelligence agencies for its alleged ties to the Chinese government. The company is also recovering from the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal.
Even though Facebook promises that it will be more proactive and transparent in the way it handles privacy issues going forward, random bugs like these are not going to help its credibility in any way.