Millions of Facebook Users May Have Unknowingly Shared Posts Publicly

Facebook, Facebook, Facebook – between malware leveraging Facebook Messenger to send phishing messages, to apps on the platform mishandling customer data, the social media network has dealt with its fair share of cybersecurity woes these past few months. And just this week, yet another issue has emerged. It was discovered that a bug within Facebook may have accidentally changed settings for 14 million users, causing their posts to be shared publicly, even if they thought they were being shared only with friends.

When users share something on Facebook, they’re shown an audience selector, which provides a handful of options for who exactly gets to see a post. The user can select “Friends,” “Only me,” “Friends except,” or “Public,” with the choice supposedly defaulting to the one last used by the account owner. However, this bug made it so the default for all posts was set to public – meaning if the user was not paying attention, they unwittingly shipped their post out to a larger audience than they were anticipating.

Now, the good news is this bug was only affecting posts that went out from May 18th to May 27th, and no posts prior to that period were affected. Additionally, Facebook has confirmed that the bug has in fact been fixed.

However, this bug does act as a lesson about sharing out personal information on social media and reminds us to always be cautious of what we put out on the web. That being said, here are a few proactive security tips you can follow when sharing info on social media:

  • Always check in on your settings. This bug is a reminder that we should always check in on our current settings on social media platforms and apps. This bug swapped the settings without notifying users, but sometimes we may even too forget if we have the right settings on. Make it a priority a few times a month to go and see if you have the correct security settings in place on all your apps.
  • Be selective about what you share. The best way to control where your information goes is by cutting down what you share and how much you share it. That means reducing the amount of times you post on social media, and the type of information you do share. Anything private, personal, or that could help a cybercriminal learn more about you should remain off your social channels.
  • Use comprehensive security. Even though this data was willingly given, it’s important you still lock down all your devices with an extra layer of security to help keep yourself safe. To do just that, use a comprehensive solution such as McAfee Total Protection, in addition to limiting the amount of personal data you post and share.

And, of course, to stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, be sure to follow me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable? and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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