News of a Facebook bug isn’t all that surprising but this particular Facebook bug might make a few people upset. Facebook is notifying around 800,000 users due to a bug which unblocked people they had previously blocked. File that under “whoops.” The Facebook bug was active between May 29 and June 5 and here’s what Erin Egan, Chief Privacy Officer, had to say about the incident.
Starting today we are notifying over 800,000 users about a bug in Facebook and Messenger that unblocked some people they had blocked. 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. For example, pictures shared with friends of friends. We know that the ability to block someone is important — and we’d like to apologize and explain what happened.
When you block someone on Facebook they cannot see things you post on your profile, start conversations with you on Messenger or add you as a friend. Blocking also automatically unfriends them if you were previously friends. In the case of this bug:
- It did not reinstate any friend connections that had been severed;
- 83% of people affected by the bug had only one person they had blocked temporarily unblocked; and
- Someone who was unblocked might have been able to contact people on Messenger who had blocked them.
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.