It said the bug automatically suggested that users make new posts public, even if they had previously restricted posts to "friends only" or another private setting. They'll see a message from Facebook urging users to "Please Review Your Posts" and a link to a list of what they shared on Facebook while the bug was active. That default was changed to public for the 14 million users, but if affected users noticed, they could have manually switched the setting themselves.
Introduced on May 18, the bug was first addressed on May 22, a fix that changed every affected post to private, even if the user had originally meant to post it publicly.
Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan said in a statement that the issue is now resolved and users affected by the bug are being notified.
Facebook confirmed earlier this week that China-based Huawei - which has been banned by the USA 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.
It could be. Jonathan Mayer, a professor of computer science and public affairs at Princeton University, wrote on Twitter that this gaffe "looks like a viable Federal Trade Commission (FTC)/state attorney general deception case". The social media giant says it stopped the error on May 22, but it was not able to change all the posts back to their original privacy restrictions until May 27.
In its most recent trouble, the company revealed it had been sharing data with partners in China, which happens to be the last country most privacy-conscious users would want to share data with.
When people post to Facebook, the service suggests a default distribution for their posts based on past privacy settings.
The cockup is thought to have stemmed from new features Facebook was testing to allow users to share "featured" items on their profile that are set to "public" viewability.
These items, which include posts and photo albums, are automatically public. In the meantime, you can take solace in the fact that this glitch only affected 0.007 percent of Facebook users - which is 14 million people.
This article has been corrected to clarify that the bug led some users to inadvertently post publicly regardless of their earlier settings.