Facebook has landed itself into yet another privacy scandal – this time involving users’ privacy settings.
A glitch on the platform caused up to 14 million Facebook users to have their new posts inadvertently set to public, the company revealed on Thursday. This glitch was reportedly caused by the testing of a new feature across the platform.
Typically, if you share something on Facebook, the privacy settings of that post default to the last ones you used. For example, if you share a photo and set it only to be seen by your friends, then the next time you post something, Facebook will assume you want to share it with the same audience. However, because of the bug, all new posts were made public – that is, visible to all users.
The company said that starting Thursday, affected users will see a message from Facebook encouraging them to “Please Review Your Posts” as well as a link to a list of what they may have shared during the glitch. Facebook said that users were able to manually change the share settings of their posts throughout the bug’s duration.
“We recently found a bug that automatically suggested posting publicly when some people were creating their Facebook posts. 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,” Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, said in a statement. “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. We’d like to apologize for this mistake.”
This is the second controversy, after the much highlighted Cambridge Analytica data leak. According to a survey by the Ponemon Institute, an independent research firm specializing in privacy and data protection, trust in Facebook has fallen by 66 percent as a result of news stories in recent months.