Company Hit by Second Software Bug in Less Than a Month
At least 800,000 users of Facebook may have been affected by a glitch in the company’s network. Users who were blocked were unblocked temporarily in the glitch that happened between 29 May and 5 June. The glitch has since been fixed.
This is the second software bug to hit the company in less than a month. Back in June, Facebook revealed that another software bug had resulted in some of its users posting publicly by default, despite the previous privacy settings they may have added to their profile postings. As many as 14 million users were affected by this buy over several days in May when it occurred.
Users of both Facebook and its Messenger app were affected, and the company stated that it would inform the affected users with a pop-up message. Those who were affected by the glitch would receive notifications on Facebook that will encourage the affected users to check their blocked lists again.
How Facebook’s block function Work?
Facebook’s block function works by preventing the blocked user from viewing posts in the blocker’s profile. The blocked user will not be able to contact the blocker though the platform’s Messenger app, or be able to connect to the blocker as a friend. When a user moves to block someone on Facebook, they are automatically removing them as a friend from their contact list too.
Erin Egan, Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer, has apologized, stating that the company knows how important being able to block someone on Facebook is. In a blog post, Egan said that the unblocked individual would not be able to see content shared with friends, but may have been able to see content which was posted to a wider audience.
Egan’s blog post went on to detail that out of the users who had been affected by this glitch, only 83% had “only one person they had blocked temporarily unblocked.” This glitch is another incident in an already ongoing privacy crisis issue which Facebook has been dealing with.
Earlier this year, Facebook Chief Mark Zuckerberg came under fire with the European Parliament and US Congress about the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which Zuckerberg was questioned about the breach of users’ personal data and information. Facebook had later disclosed that 110 third parties were given more access to personal data than the company realized.
Facebook assured its users that the glitch may have temporarily unblocked someone they had previously blocked, but it did not restore the friendships or reconnect through Facebook. However, the blocked individual would have been able to contact the blocker via Facebook Messenger while the glitch was taking place.
The glitch may have affected only a small part of the 2.4 billion users worldwide, but it was still an issue especially for those who relied on the block function to escape harassment on social media.