Facebook glitch shared 14 million users' private posts publicly

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San Francisco: Facebook acknowledged Thursday a software glitch that changed the settings of some 14 million users, potentially making some posts public even if they were meant to be private. That's because the company had promised that the setting users set in their most recent privacy preferences would be maintained for future posts.

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

Facebook has been criticized for its tendency to retroactively notify users of security bugs or breaches. People could have changed the individual audience setting on posts, but would have had to notice the setting was different from what they'd chosen. "We'd like to apologise for this mistake".

Facebook said it will reach out to the users who are thought to have been affected by the bug.

'Within the United States alone, we have played a pivotal role in winning presidential races as well as congressional and state elections, ' with data on more than 230 million American voters, Cambridge Analytica claims on its website.

What did the bug do?

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When posting on Facebook, users have the ability to specify who can see their posts. These items, which include posts and photo albums, are automatically public.

Facebook remembers what setting you last chose and automatically selects it the next time you make a post. After Facebook employees discovered the bug, which occurred while the tech giant was testing a new feature, the company claimed workers went back and changed the privacy settings for all posts shared by those 14 million users during that time.

Considering that Facebook has almost 2.2 billion users worldwide, the number of affected users is small. Facebook will also flag for the user which posts they shared between May 18 and May 27, and will show them what the privacy setting was on that post.

Facebook is facing a major new privacy gaffe.

This week, it has been answering questions about the nature of data-sharing deals with handset makers including Chinese manufacturers Huawei and ZTE.

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