Another bug: Photos of nearly 7 million Facebook users exposed

Four years and counting since I deleted my FB account. You couldn’t pay me to go back to it.

From Hollywood Reporter: Facebook’s privacy controls have broken down yet again, this time through a software flaw affecting nearly 7 million users who had photos exposed to a much wider audience than intended.

The bug disclosed Friday gave hundreds of apps unauthorized access to photos that could in theory include images that would embarrass some of the affected users. They also included photos people may have uploaded but hadn’t yet posted, perhaps because they had changed their mind.

It’s not yet known whether anyone actually saw the photos, but the revelation of the now-fixed problem served as another reminder of just how much data Facebook has on its 2.27 billion users, as well has how frequently these slipups are recurring.

The bug is the latest in a series of privacy lapses that continue to crop up, despite Facebook’s repeated pledges to batten down its hatches and do a better job preventing unauthorized access to the pictures, thoughts and other personal information its users intend so share only with friends and family.

In general, when people grant permission for a third-party app to access their photos, they are sharing all the photos on their Facebook page, regardless of privacy settings meant to limit a photo to small circles such as family. The bug potentially gave developers access to even more photos, such as those shared on separate Marketplace and Facebook Stories features, as well as photos that weren’t actually posted.

Facebook said the users’ photos may have been exposed for 12 days in September. The company said the bug has been fixed.

The company declined to say how many of the affected users are from Europe, where stricter privacy laws took effect in May and could subject companies to fines. Facebook said it has notified the Irish Data Protection Commission of the breach.

The problem comes in a year fraught with privacy scandals and other problems for the world’s biggest social network.

Revelations that the data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed data from as many as 87 million users led to congressional hearings and changes in what sorts of data Facebook lets outside developers access. In June, a bug affecting privacy settings led some users to post publicly by default regardless of their previous settings. This bug affected as many as 14 million users over several days in May.

With each breakdown, Facebook risks losing credibility with both its audience and the advertisers whose spending generates most of the company’s revenue.

“It’s like they keep getting these chinks in the armor that is causing this trust deficit,” said Michael Priem, CEO of Modern Impact, which places ads for a variety of major brands.

Although Facebook doesn’t appear to be losing a lot of users, Priem said some advertisers have been seeing data indicating that people are spending less time on the social network. That’s raising concerns about whether the privacy breakdowns and problems with misinformation being spread on the services are taking a toll.

Read the whole story here.


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Many years ago, M Zberg declared users of his system, “Dumb f…ers.” You are not a qualified customer. What is a good platform for a blog?


I removed myself from Facebook when the blogger Amy Welborn tracked me down and located my email in 2014, after I had posted an unfavorable review on Amazon for one of her books. It was my ninety-second review on Amazon, and the first one in which an author responded theatening legal action (she later cooled down). Needless to say, Amy’s name is now synonomous with “mud” for me.
I also have never regretted getting off Facebook. Wish I had avoided it completely.


I have never had an account. I was suspicious of this at the outset and I still can’t understand the attraction. My wife has an account so she can keep up with friends and relatives. I suppose it isn’t a big deal if one is careful with the information provided. It seems to appeal to the ego of a lot of people who otherwise wouldn’t attain any measure of fame. Over time a person can drop a lot of personal information in dribs and drabs. With the advent of facial recognition there is also the prospect of being targeted in… Read more »


I’m just amazed Farcebook still has 7 million users.


There is another detail here that is disturbing, that of pedophilia, pedophiles will creep around facebook looking for photos provided in ignorance by parents, and siphoning them up to distribute elsewhere, and there are unfortunately a volume of parents who will post full nudes of their children to the place as if its some kind of family photo album, I don’t understand how someone can do that, exposing their children to who knows what. It doesn’t take more than one leak, “glitch”, or a privacy settings mispost that gets exposed to “friends of friends” (a category that shouldn’t even be… Read more »