MANILA, Philippines – Facebook disclosed a bug that randomly unblocked people from a user’s blocked list in a blog post published last Monday.
Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, wrote to let the over 800,000 affected users know that people from their blocked list could have seen their posts when the bug was active from May 29 to June 5.
Blocking someone on Facebook automatically unfriends them and prevents them from such actions as adding you as friend, sending you a message on Messenger, and seeing posts on your profile. This means that during the time the bug was active, the blocked person could have easily performed the aforementioned list of actions.
About 83% of the 800,000 users affected had only one person unblocked.
When asked by a journalist, Facebook on Twitter provided context of what caused the bug and how it worked.
“Most visible user data on FB is stored in pairs called ‘associations,’ which control what posts people see and the actions they can take. A bug mistakenly deleted some of these associations across Facebook and Messenger, which caused blocks to be lost,” Facebook explained.
The social media giant apologized for the bug and assured users that it has already been dealt with. Egan stated that the bug did not reinstate friend connections that had been severed and that those who should be blocked have been blocked once again. Users affected by the bug should expect to see a notification asking them to go over go over their blocked list.
Egan acknowledged how serious the bug was, especially for users who blocked possibly invasive people. “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,” she said. – Rappler.com