Facebook: Debugging the Associations
Facebook was launched on February 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg along with Harvard College fellows. Ever since Facebook has been growing tremendously. It is the most used medium of social media and it has not yet reached its limits. One of the main features provided by Facebook which are the reason more and more people join this interactive social media site is its privacy and security policy. Users can choose who they want to interact with or whom they want to prohibit from viewing the contents they share or from contacting them.
Social media is a jungle of people where different kinds of people are expressing themselves and some of them are more opinionated to the level of bullying or at other times users come in contact with some anti-social behavior from others such as stalking, hatred or harassment. Thanks to the blocking feature and other security measures taken by Facebook one can easily avoid interacting with malicious behavior. So if you want to avoid your ex or any stalker or harasser, just block them. Further, Facebook is regularly striving to keep its users content secure and has an effective system in place to avoid the data from being hacked or used in a wrong way.
But despite the regular upgraded security system and debugging, Facebook is still not immune to the different bugs that attack its servers. Though the teams at Facebook eliminate and viruses and bugs from the system they cannot anticipate all the attacks of viruses and bugs that can make the system vulnerable even for a small period of time.
One such incident happened recently from 29th May 2018 to 5th May 2018 when a bug affected the visible user data due to which the people who were previously blocked by users were unblocked. Though the unblocked people could not see the content of users shared with friends, were able to interact with users on messengers and could have access to the wider shared content to public or to friends of friends.
The bug was active for eight days but it has been fixed now and the people unblocked by the bug are blocked again. Further, Facebook clarified on Twitter to people about what happened due to the attack of the bug. Facebook explained that the visible user data stored in pairs, known as ‘associations’ was affected by the bug and some of it was deleted across Facebook and Messenger causing the blocked people to unblock on its own.
Mr. Erin Egan explained about the bug in a blog and apologized for the inconvenience experienced by the users. He told about the features of the bug that:
- It didn’t reinstate any friend connections that had been severed.
- 83% of users who were affected by the bug had only one person they had blocked temporarily unblocked.
- Someone who was unblocked might have been able to contact users on Messenger who had blocked them.
It is not known when and how Facebook came to know about the bug. Either Facebook discovered the bug on its own or acted upon the user complaints. However, Facebook has reached out to about over 800,000 users about the screw-up caused by the bug and the company is saying that the Messenger should be acting normally.
It is clear by the incidence that Facebook has to take more steps to in order to secure the privacy of its users and as users, we should be careful about what we post on Facebook in particular and on social media in general.