Facebook is now in the process of alerting millions of its users of a bug that occurred last month that might have made posts meant for a limited audience appear publicly. Facebook just admitted that the posts of as many as 14 million users who thought they were posting contents visible to only their friends, may have actually been shared publicly. If I limit a post's audience to just friends from high school, for instance, Facebook will make that the default audience setting on all of the posts I make from then on. The tool usually remains on the setting that was used most recently so that a user who only wants to share posts with friends does not have to keep selecting that option.
Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer, was quick to apologize for the mistake, but the question remains: can we still trust Facebook?
Starting today, affected users will get a message from Facebook advising them to "Please Review Your Posts".
The company said it had fixed the bug, changing the settings of all of new posts published over that period back to the affected users' previous settings.
If the user did not notice the setting had changed, they may have posted something publicly that was not intended for that wider audience.
VentureBeat has reached out to Facebook for more information about who may have been affected and will update this story if we hear back.
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Facebook has been criticized for its tendency to retroactively notify users of security bugs or breaches.
The software blunder comes at a time when Facebook is facing a deep mistrust from users over its practices of sharing user data with third parties without their consent.
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Affected users will see an alert in their notifications about the error and will be able to review the posts that went public.