A Facebook bug temporarily unblocked people that other users have blocked, adding to the long list of privacy issues that have recently plagued the social network.
Facebook's Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan has apologized for the error, which affected nearly a million users. What exactly did the Facebook bug do, and why is it such a big deal?
Facebook Blocked Users Bug
In a Facebook Newsroom post, Egan detailed the bug that affected 800,000 users on the social network.
According to Egan, from May 29 to June 5, a Facebook bug temporarily unblocked people that users have previously blocked. The suddenly unblocked users were not able to see content that users only shared with their friends, but they were able to see things that users posted for a wider audience. The temporarily unblocked users may have also been able to send a message to the people that blocked them through Messenger.
Egan added that while the blocked users were temporarily unblocked, severed friend connections were not reinstated. In addition, of the 800,000 affected, 83 percent of them only experienced one blocked person becoming temporarily unblocked.
The Facebook executive said that the bug has been fixed, and supposedly blocked users are once again blocked. The affected users will receive notifications on Facebook to urge them to check that their list of blocked users is in order.
The Facebook blocked users bug is a big deal because there are some sensitive reasons for users in blocking other people on the social network. The reasons range from simple ones such as evading annoying posts to serious ones such as protecting against bullying or harassment.
Egan did not disclose the exact number of Facebook users affected, when the bug was discovered, and what caused the bug to happen.
Facebook Privacy Issues Continue
Privacy has been one of the major Facebook problems recently, especially after the Cambridge Analytica scandal involving the 2016 Presidential Election spawned the #DeleteFacebook movement. Facebook has since implemented measures to address the privacy loopholes and Cambridge Analytica has officially shut down, but the data scandal remains at the top of the minds of users of the social network.
The company is still recovering from the massive crisis, but it is not helping itself with successive reports on Facebook privacy issues. In early June, a Facebook bug made supposedly private posts go public, affecting 14 million users. Later that month, reports revealed that a Facebook quiz app may have exposed the private information of 120 million users, without them realizing it.