Facebook bug may have given access to 6.8 million users’ photos

Facebook file photo - WFLA_289710

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A now-fixed bug in the Facebook system may have exposed the photos of as many as 6.8 million users to third-party apps, even if users had set the pictures to “private.”

The social media company discussed the issue in a blog post Friday, saying a “photo API bug” gave third-party apps broader access to their photos than usual between Sept. 13 and Sept. 25.

“When someone gives permission for an app to access their photos on Facebook, we usually only grant the app access to photos people share on their timeline,” Tomer Bar explained in the post. “In this case, the bug potentially gave developers access to other photos, such as those shared on Marketplace or Facebook Stories. The bug also impacted photos that people uploaded to Facebook but chose not to post.”

Facebook said up to 1,500 million apps built by 876 developers may have had access to the pictures. Both Facebook and users had previously allowed those apps to access their pictures. 

People who were affected will be notified through a Facebook alert where they can see if they used any apps affected by the bug. Facebook also recommends people log into apps they shared their photos with to see which ones they can access.

“We’re sorry this happened,” Bar wrote. “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.”

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