Facebook made some private posts public for as many as 14M users

Norman Sadeh, co-director of Carnegie Mellon University's Privacy Engineering Program, said that although Facebook survived temporary losses of trust from the public in the past, the recent scandals appeared to be taking their toll on the social media company.

Facebook says it didn't make the posts private until May 27, so it's possible that mere acquaintances could have seen sensitive info during that nine-day span.

Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer, said this did not affect past posts. 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. People could have changed the individual audience setting on posts, but would have had to notice the setting was different from what they'd chosen. The company said Thursday that a bug in its system caused it to publicly share the posts of 14 million people who thought they were making private updates. But Facebook accidentally set "public" as the default for posts, too.

Facebook will soon start monetizing its Marketplace by letting users pay to promote their own listings nearby.

It's the latest in a series of revelations about Facebook's privacy lapses.

In response to the problems, the company has added a number of new privacy controls, as well as a centralized page for privacy and security settings. That way, users can reset a post that was inadvertently set to public back to being shared just with friends if they would like. Facebook will also flag for the user which posts they shared between May 18 and May 27, and will show them what the privacy setting was on that post. The news prompted swift response from lawmakers who asked Facebook for more information on those partnerships, and raised further questions about whether Facebook has violated a privacy agreement it had made with the government in 2011.

  • Latoya Cobb