Facebook has notified 800,000 users whose privacy has been compromised by a “blocked” bug. It appears that blocked individuals on Facebook and Messenger of the affected users were temporarily unblocked. Facebook also has some new API restrictions aimed at protecting user information more efficiently.
The Bug Was Active for a Week
“The bug was active between May 29 and June 5 — and while someone who was unblocked could not see content shared with friends, they could have seen things posted to a wider audience”, Facebook explained in a statement. Such content includes pictures shared with friends of friends.
The Facebook and Messenger bug led users being able to see some of the content posted by individuals who had blocked them, the social network said. In addition to this, the “blockee” may have also been able to contact the “blocker” via Messenger. Nonetheless, friend connections were not re-established as a result of the bug. 83 percent of affected users had only one blocked person temporarily unblocked. All affected users should see a notification about the bug in their accounts. The good news is that the bug is already fixed and whoever was blocked remains blocked.
Facebook Releases New API Restrictions
Another important announcement was made the same day the bug alert came out (Monday, July 2nd). The new API restrictions as well as some other privacy improvements come after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. “In late March, we promised to take a hard look at the information apps can use when you connect them to Facebook. We’ve shared a few updates since then — including on April 4, April 24 and at F8 in May,” said Ime Archibong, VP Product Partnerships of Facebook.
Some of the changes concern developers as several APIs have been or about to be deprecated, such as the Graph API Explorer App, Profile Expression Kit, Trending API, the Signal tool, Trending Topics, Hashtag Voting, Topic Search, Topic Insights, Topic Feed, and Public Figure. It should be noted that the Trending and Topic APIs are part of the Media Solutions toolkit. Some of the APIs are deprecated because of low usage, and other will only be restricted.
Developers will be able to search for Facebook pages via the Pages API, but they will need Page Public Content Access permissions, which can only be obtained via the app review process.
From now on, the Marketing API can only be used by reviewed apps. Facebook is also introducing New app review permissions for the Live Video and Lead Ads Retrieval APIs.