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

The bug accidentally actively changed the privacy settings for 14 million users around the world from May 18 until May 22, making all posts shared during that time visible to the public, and the company switched all settings back to the users' preferred settings by May 27, according to press reports. As a result, many of those users may have unknowingly published posts as public that they intended only for certain friends.

Facebook is now in the process of alerting millions of its users of a bug that occurred last month that might have made posts meant for a limited audience appear publicly.

"We recently found a bug that automatically suggested posting publicly when some people were creating their Facebook posts", said Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer.

Starting today, affected users will begin seeing messages from Facebook that encourage them to "Please Review Your Posts".

Facebook confirmed earlier this week that China-based Huawei - which has been banned by the U.S. military and is a lightning rod for cyberespionage concerns - was among device makers authorized to see user data in agreements that had been in place for years.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg ultimately issued a mea culpa and promised to do better for its users, a promise, in light of the most recent bug, is something the company is going to have to work harder to keep.

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Facebook said it was testing out a new feature - one that would suggest people share featured profile items publicly, but it accidentally set the default for posts to "public" as well. In this case, this did not happen for several days.

For those who are affected, Facebook will be displaying privacy notifications that appear when a user logs into Facebook via the web or mobile app.

These items, which include posts and photo albums, are automatically public.

Even if the bug was an accident on Facebook's part, Mr Mayer said in an email to Reuters that the FTC can bring enforcement action for privacy mistakes. This means any posts that they made could be read by anyone regardless of their default setting.

This article has been corrected to clarify that the bug led some users to inadvertently post publicly regardless of their earlier settings.