Reports published late this week suggest that a Facebook software bug may have caused user’s private posts to be shared publicly.
According to the report, as many as 14 million Facebook users were affected by the software bug, which quietly switched “private” posts to “public.” Although the software bug was only active for 10 days in May, some tech analysts are concerned about the impact of such a mishap in the context of Facebook’s recent struggles to regain user trust after the company’s recent data scandals.
“We’d like to apologize for this mistake,” Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, said in a statement on Thursday. “We have fixed this issue, and starting today we are letting everyone affected know and are asking them to review any posts they made during that time.”
In April, Facebook admitted that they were scanning the private conversations of Messenger users. The Silicon Valley giant even admitted that they were analyzing photos sent between users on their messaging platform.
“For example, on Messenger, when you send a photo, our automated systems scan it using photo matching technology to detect known child exploitation imagery or when you send a link, we scan it for malware or viruses,” a Messenger spokesperson said. “Facebook designed these automated tools so we can rapidly stop abusive behavior on our platform.”
Facebook has faced heightened scrutiny since the beginning of the year as a result of a data scandal that involved the leaking of personal information from millions of user accounts. At the end of March, Facebook took out a full-page ad in several major newspapers to apologize for the data leakage.
Facebook says it is reaching out to users this week that were affected by the May software bug.