Facebook yesterday revealed that a software bug affecting nearly 6.8 million users might have also exposed a broader set of photos to the developers that what those users intended.
Moreover, this doesn’t mean that anyone saw the photos, the revelation of the bug offers another reminder of just how much data Facebook has on its 3 billion users and how often these sorts of slip-ups happen.
In a blog post which has been revealed, the company said that the bug had affected around 7 million people who granted permission for the third party apps to access the photos. Facebook said that the user's photos may also have been exposed for the 12 days in September and that the bug was fixed.
Moreover, when people give apps access to their photos, it means that only the photos which are going to be posted on their Facebook page. Facebook also revealed that the bug potentially gave the developers access to other photos, such as those shared on the Marketplace or the Facebook Stories. The bug also affected the photos that people uploaded to the Facebook but chose not to post or could not post for the technical reasons.
The issue comes in a year fraught with the privacy scandals and some other problems for the world’s biggest social media network.
Revelations that the data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed data from as many as 87 million users led to congressional hearings and changes in what sorts of data Facebook lets outside developers access. In June, a bug affecting privacy settings led some users to post publicly by default regardless of their previous settings. This bug affected as many as 14 million users over several days in May.
On Thursday, to counter the bad rap it's gotten around privacy as of late, Facebook hosted a one-day “pop-up” to talk to users about their settings and whatever else may be on their mind. Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan was on hand to answer questions. Asked by a reporter what grade she'd give Facebook for its privacy work in the past year, she said “B.” By 2019, she said she hopes the improvements will result in an “A.”
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