On Monday, Facebook revealed that a bug had affected the privacy settings of 800,000 users. The bug allowed users who’d been blocked on Facebook and Messenger to become unblocked — without those who blocked them knowing about it.
Facebook call this a “bug”. Reports from Mashable, state that the lapse exposed content to blocked contacts for 8 days (29th May thru 5th June 2018). Facebooks’ statement explains that the “bug” resulted in the following consequences:
- It did not reinstate any friend connections that had been severed;
- 83% of people affected by the bug had only one person they had blocked temporarily unblocked; and
- Someone who was unblocked might have been able to contact people on Messenger who had blocked them.
This issue has now been fixed and everyone has been blocked again. People who were affected will get a notification on Facebook encouraging them to check their blocked list.
Unfortunately; the seriousness of the issue is somewhat brushed over in their newsroom post…
There are many reasons why people block another person on Facebook. For example, their relationship may have changed or they may want to take a break from someone posting content they find annoying. Other reasons are more serious like harassment or bullying.
FB users have many reasons for blocking users and existing contacts – a majority of the people who invoke blocks, do so because of cyber-bullying, abuse & prejudice and in dramatically more serious cases – government tracking and persecution. Anyone in that situation will just probably brush it off, along with any distressing contact made during that period right ?
(FB has not disclosed where the 800k effected users were located or if any users have been subject to abuse during this period)