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.
But, for four days in May, the bug ignored user preferences and set the default audience for all new posts to "public", the company said.
"We recently found a bug that automatically suggested posting publicly when some people were creating their Facebook posts", said Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer. The bug apparently affected 14 million people, although it seems Facebook doesn't know how many of those users may have actually posted something to the public.
Ms Egan says the issue did not affect past posts and has apologised for the mistake. Facebook stopped the bug on May 22 but did not restore the proper privacy settings to all posts until May 27.
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. Normally, Facebook makes it possible for users to share photos, text, or video only with family members, work colleagues, or other specially designated contacts and preventing anyone else from seeing the content.
Featured items are meant to be publicly visible, but Facebook accidentally made it so that setting applied to all posts made on a user's profile. In the meantime, it has reverted the audience for any affected posts to whatever setting the user had selected previously.
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A message will prompt them to "Please Review Your Posts", while a link will direct the user to view a list of what they shared during the 10 days that the bug was active.
Facebook has stated that these types of notifications will be used going forward to report privacy issues or breaches.
How did the bug impact Facebook posts?
Facebook just can't get it together as we learn about another major privacy breach on their platform.
Facebook said it estimates 14 million people did so - and so has started notifying users.