On 2 July, Facebook started notifying more than 800,000 of its users that a bug in Facebook and Messenger had unblocked some users that had previously been blocked. Active between 29 May and 5 June, the bug did not allow a blocked user to see content within certain privacy permissions. However, if the post were public or visible to friends of friends, the blocked person could have seen the information. Users whose privacy setting were set to “friends only” when sharing content would not have had any posts revealed to a blocked friend.
Facebook apologized for what happened and explained that the bug did not reinstate any blocked persons. The company also noted that “83% of people affected by the bug had only one person they had blocked temporarily unblocked.” The issue has been fixed, and users were encouraged to check their blocked list to make sure that their desired settings were as they should be.
It’s been a tough 2018 for Facebook, who recently announced that it had indeed continued to share data with 61 hardware and software makers even after CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified that the practice of sharing data with third parties ended in 2015.
In the wee hours of Friday 29 June, Facebook submitted 747 pages worth of answers to the questions posed by the Senate and House Committees on 10-11 April. Of the 2,000 questions asked, many related to the scraping of data from third parties brought to light by the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
“We’ve heard loud and clear that privacy settings and other important tools are too hard to find and that we must do more to keep people informed. So, we’re taking additional steps to put people more in control of their privacy,” Facebook wrote.