Facebook reveals bug allowing apps to access private photos of nearly 6.8 million users

The breach which took place over a 12-day period in September, adds to Facebook’s mounting privacy troubles after several incidents earlier this year

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Facebook on Friday has revealed that a major software bug may have allowed third-party apps to incorrectly access the photos of up to 6.8 million users, including images that people began to upload to the site but didn’t post publicly, according to reports.

The breach which took place over a 12-day period in September, adds to Facebook’s mounting privacy troubles after several incidents arose earlier this year, in which the social media giant failed to fully safeguard the personal data of its users. These incidents have prompted European regulators to investigate and bring on fresh calls for the company to be fined.

Facebook usually allows apps by third-party developers to obtain users' permission and access photos shared on their timeline.

However, because of the bug, nearly 1,500 apps could access “a broader set of photos than usual,” Facebook explained in a blog post. This includes photos that a user may have started to post, but abandoned before actually publishing it. This is because Facebook keeps a copy of the draft in the event a user might want to complete the upload later.

The software breach may have also allowed developers to access photos they were not allowed to on Marketplace, a Facebook hub for users to buy and sell goods, and some posted in Stories, where users can share short photo or video updates that appear for 24 hours.

Facebook declined to detail the exact apps that may have obtained these photos, or what they may have done with them.

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