Welp, Facebook screwed us again.
The advertising giant wants you to believe that you’re in control of what data you share, and who you share it with. We know that’s mostly an illusion built upon conflating the photos you upload with the information the company collects on you. And now, for approximately 14 million people, even that illusion has been shattered.
The company confirmed to Mashable on Thursday that from May 18 to May 22, a Facebook bug automatically set a host of users’ new post settings to “public” regardless of their selected setting. It wasn’t fixed until May 27, which led Facebook to warn its users about any content posted between the 18th and 27th.
That means potentially millions of posts that were supposed to be set as private were shared publicly. The company declined to comment on the exact number of posts affected.
“We recently found a bug that automatically suggested posting publicly when some people were creating their Facebook posts,” wrote Facebook’s chief privacy officer Erin Egan. “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.”
Facebook sent us a sample notification that an affected user would receive.
So how did this happen? According to Facebook, it was a mistake that resulted from a new way to share certain items to your profile being improperly implemented.
A spokesperson was quick to add that the problem has been fixed, and that if your account was one of the ones affected than any post you made during that time was switched back to whatever setting you had selected previously before the bug.
Still, if you do end up receiving this notification, you should probably double-check all your posts yourself. After all, it’s not like Facebook hasn’t messed up before.