Situation Normal All Facebooked Up (SNAFU) is an internal Facebook glitch that recently plagued 14 million users. The bug automatically made posts between the 18th and 27th of May be made public. Were you affected?
Normally Facebook has a “sticky” audience selector. This means when you post on Facebook, you choose your audience, for example friends, friends and connections, or public to everyone, and this sharing default is remembered. Next time you go to post something Facebook will suggest that you share your post with this group.
The SNAFU bug altered the audience selector settings for 14 million people so news posts between the 18th and 27th of May were set to “public”, even if these users had a history of posting their content to more private audiences. Most people probably don’t want their posts to be public for everyone.
With the Cambridge Analytica scandal still fresh and data privacy concerns mounting, Facebook is being watched carefully. Unfortunately their youthful motto “move fast, break things”, meaning new features might not be perfect, but speed of creation is important, is no longer being welcomed by users who want their data safe.
Erin Egan, Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer, came out with this statement regarding the audience selector error on Thursday. Facebook has also already reset these sharing parameters back to their original audience selectors. However, if you were affected next time you sign in you’ll receive a notification encouraging you to review posts made in that time frame.
Although these glitches are frustrating it’s reassuring to see Facebook become more accountable and transparent. They flagged the problem, notified those affected, and took active steps to rectify their mistake. We’ll be watching to ensure they keep up the good privacy habits.
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