Facebook Bug Opened Privacy Settings for 14M Users

Social media giant Facebook Inc. (FB) is dealing with another privacy mishap this week on news that for a period of four days in May, roughly 14 million users around the world had their default sharing settings for all new posts set to public. (See also: Apple Vs. Facebook: May the Best Stock Win.)

Mark Zuckerberg's Silicon Valley tech titan revealed the news Thursday, indicating that the event happened while Facebook was testing a new feature. According to the company, when the privacy error was discovered, Facebook immediately changed back back settings for all affected users in a process that took five days. Facebook is notifying users who were potentially impacted by the software glitch that may have posted sensitive friends-only content to the entire world. 

"We’d like to apologize for this mistake,” said Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, in a statement. “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.” Facebook depends on trust to keep users engaged on its site, an issue that it has struggled with in the recent months. 

Start of New Era on Privacy Issues

The latest privacy mishap at Facebook follows its most high-profile data scandal yet, involving the London-based political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. In March, news broke that the data of over 87 million Facebook users had been collected by the data analysis firm to aid the Trump campaign in making targeted political ads for the 2016 U.S. presidential race. The event led to Facebook stock's biggest decline in nearly four years, amounting to roughly $100 billion shed in market capitalization. As Zuckerberg testified in front of U.S. lawmakers for the first time ever, Facebook shares started to regain lost ground in what was seen as a strong performance by the founder and CEO

A Facebook spokesperson said its notification to all 14 million effected users of the latest privacy mishap marks the beginning of a new proactive and transparent way for the firm to handle its issues, as reported by CNN. (See also: New EU Privacy Rules to Aid Google, Facebook: WSJ.)

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