Facebook Bug Made Private Posts Publicly Viewable for 14 Million Users

Glitch hit users in mid-May

Last Updated: June 8, 2018 @ 11:35 AM

A software bug made millions of private Facebook accounts publicly viewable last month, the social network announced on Thursday.

In total, up to 14 million users around the world had their share settings on Facebook switched to “public.” The glitch was live from May 18 to May 27. Recode was first to report.

We recently found a bug that automatically suggested posting publicly when some people were creating their Facebook posts,” Facebook chief privacy officer Erin Egan said in a statement to TheWrap. “We have fixed this issue and starting today we are letting everyone affected know and asking them to review any posts they made during that time. To be clear, this bug did not impact anything people had posted before – and they could still choose their audience just as they always have. We’d like to apologize for this mistake.”

Shares of Facebook stock were already down about 1.5 percent on the day to $188.25 per share on Thursday when the news hit, and continued to hover at that price heading into the closing bell.

The bug is the latest security issue to plague the Palo Alto, California-based company. Facebook is still dealing with the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica data leak, where up to 87 million users had their information unknowingly accessed by the data firm in 2014. Cambridge Analytica went on to assist President Trump’s run to the White House in 2016. Facebook execs have been on an apology tour since the news first broke in March, and have rolled out increased security features in response to the leak.

The social network also continues to grapple with the spread of misinformation on its platform. More than 100 million users were hit by fake news peddled by Russian trolls before and after the 2016 election, according to the company. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he’s “dead serious” about eradicating fake news moving forward. Facebook has introduced more stringent advertising policies in the last year, and just this week, announced it had partnered with outlets like CNN and Fox News to bring news shows to its Watch platform this summer.