Up to 6.8 million unposted private photos were exposed to developers in latest Facebook bug, the social media giant announced on Friday. It is the latest in series of privacy issues that have bedeviled the company in recent past. It seems the social media giant can’t seem to run away from these kind of issues, and I wonder how long things have to remain this way.
The latest bug, according to Facebook was discovered by its internal team. The company said the team discovered a photo API bug that “may have affected people who used Facebook Login and granted permission to third-party apps to access their photos.” While Facebook said the issue has been fixed, it however, went on to add that some third-party apps may have had access to “a broader set of photos than usual for 12 days between September 13 to September 25, 2018.”
Confidence in Facebook is at its lowest ebb—and users are skeptical these days when it comes to using the platform. Despite repeated assurances, Facebook always let its users down, especially when it comes to privacy.
Tomer Bar, Engineering Director at Facebook gave a brief explanation on how the whole thing happened:
“When someone gives permission for an app to access their photos on Facebook, we usually only grant the app access to photos people share on their timeline. In this case, the bug potentially gave developers access to other photos, such as those shared on Marketplace or Facebook Stories. The bug also impacted photos that people uploaded to Facebook but chose not to post. For example, if someone uploads a photo to Facebook but doesn’t finish posting it – maybe because they’ve lost reception or walked into a meeting – we store a copy of that photo for three days so the person has it when they come back to the app to complete their post.”
As expected, Facebook offered its apology to users; promising to roll out “tools for app developers that will allow them to determine which people using their app might be impacted by this bug.”
Affected users will be notified via an alert on Facebook, and the social media behemoth will also direct them to Help Center link where they have used any app affected by the bug. The screenshot below is an example of how the notification will look like when sent to users on the platform.
Facebook is also recommending users to log into any apps where they had previously shared their Facebook photos to check which photos they have access to.
About June this year, Facebook said a software bug led some users to inadvertently post publicly by default regardless of their earlier settings. The social media giant said as many as 14 million accounts were affected by the bug that occurred sometimes in May.
Users may have unknowingly made their private post public because the bug rendered previous settings ineffective or void. The implication of this is that some of your private posts may have been unintentionally shared publicly.