Facebook made some private posts public for as many as 14M

Facebook flaw changed millions of users’ posts from private to public

Facebook notifies 14M users of a bug that made status posts public

The issue arose from a bug affecting Facebook's "audience selector" tool, which allows users to decide whether to publish a post only to their friends or to a broader audience. As a result, from May 18 to May 27, as many as 14 million users who intended posts to be available only to select individuals were, in fact, accessible to anyone on the Internet.

"We'd like to apologize for this mistake", Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer, said in today's statement.

Ms Egan says the issue did not affect past posts and has apologised for the mistake. This time it was caused by an internal bug that caused any new posts created by 14 million Facebook users to be posted publicly rather than using their default setting.

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How did the bug impact Facebook posts?

Users who were affected by the bug, which appeared when the company was testing new features between May 18 and May 22, will get a notification to review their posts from that period to make sure they actually wanted them to be public and hadn't simply accepted the changed default setting.

Facebook told BleepingComputer that the "error occurred while we were building a new way to share featured items on your profile, like a photo". These items are visible to the public, however, the company extended that setting to all the new posts, TechCrunch reports.

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Users who were affected by the bug will start receiving a notification on Facebook starting Thursday.

This week, The Washington Post reported that Facebook shared special user data with Huawei - a Chinese firm that lawmakers say poses a national security threat. That means if an eagle-eyed user didn't catch the bug, they likely shared some status updates publicly on Facebook that they meant to share only with friends.

Users can also manually change the privacy of the posts - anywhere from "public" to "only me" - when publishing to Facebook. In the meantime, you can take solace in the fact that this glitch only affected 0.007 percent of Facebook users - which is 14 million people.

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