The latest in a long line of Facebook privacy blunders.
There’s a surprise waiting in the email inboxes of about 14 million Facebook users: a mea culpa message that lets them know that their privacy settings might have let them down. According to the company, a bug at headquarters automatically switched some users’ posts from Private to Public between May 18th and May 27th. Users have been notified about the glitch, giving them the opportunity to go back through their feeds and change or delete their posts.
“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,” Facebook chief privacy officer Erin Egan said in a statement. “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.”
Growing concerns over Facebook’s use of data
This news is the latest in a long line of privacy blunders that Facebook has had to own up to in recent months. News came out recently that Cambridge Analytica, the firm that used Facebook profile data on millions of users without their knowledge or consent and targeted users with politically-based content, has also been in contact with WikiLeaks with possible collusion in the last US presidential election.
Before that, Facebook acknowledged that it had sold user data to device manufacturers in an effort to “improve the Facebook experience” for mobile device users; reports disclosed that these manufacturers included Chinese companies, some of whom have been deemed a national security threat by the US government. Prior to that bombshell, Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg was called before Congress to testify about user privacy, or more accurately, how the platform may have run roughshod over it.
Did Zuckerberg lie?
Now, some Congressmen are speculating about how forthcoming Zuckerberg was in his testimony to Congress, with a small number of lawmakers going so far as to say he may have actually lied about privacy, the level of control users have over their own information, and the company’s dealings without third-parties.
“Sure looks like Zuckerberg lied to Congress about whether users have ‘complete control’ over who sees our data on Facebook,” Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) said on Twitter.
For now, it’s safe to say that the company’s name is synonymous with these types of privacy violations and a sluggish response to what it does to its own customer base. It will be interesting to see how long it takes before Facebook shareholders start whispering about an Uber-style exit for the company’s founder.