WHAT'S BEHIND ADVENT door number 17? Oh. Another data breach. And once again it's Facebook, which means that even a small leak in percentage terms is still equal to the population of Paraguay (no, really).
Facebook has revealed that a bug in application permissions allowed 6.8 million users' private photographs to slip into app developers' hands. The mistake went unnoticed for 12 days before being rectified.
For once, in terms of actual damage, this is probably a data breach which will leave you feeling a little violated, but with no real harm done. Y'see, anybody affected by the bug already allowed the apps in question to take photos from their timeline. It's just that the bug then opened this up to images from Facebook Stories and Facebook Marketplace. It also allowed access to photographs uploaded to Facebook, but not posted, which Facebook says are stored for three days until they're removed.
That sound you just heard is a collective sigh of relief from anyone who has ever used Facebook-owned WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram to send pictures of their giblets to others. Don't worry, your secret is safe with Facebook on that score.
"We're sorry this happened," writes Facebook's Tomer Bar. "Early next week we will be rolling out tools for app developers that will allow them to determine which people using their app might be impacted by this bug. We will be working with those developers to delete the photos from impacted users."
So general feeling of ickiness aside, there's probably no real harm done other than the continued eroding of trust in Facebook to keep a goddamned secret. What's possibly more interesting is whether Zuckerberg's company will be in trouble with the EU over GDPR regulations, given the bug was live in September and is only just coming out now.
If Facebook did indeed wait longer than 24 hours to report the breach, then it could be on the receiving end of a £20 million fine. True, that's like your or I being fined 10p, but it's the thought that counts. µ
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