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Facebook Video Glitch Compromises User Privacy

25
Jul
2011

online_privacyBefore anything else, here’s a little warning: this whole issue really is not as bad as it sounds. It’s a small glitch that was fixed within a week and wasn’t really all that serious.

TechCrunch sent Cnet a tip about a privacy glitch that happened in Facebook concerning private videos. For a few days, thumbnails, titles, descriptions of private videos could be seen by everyone on the user’s friend list, regardless of whether they were allowed to see the video or not. Everyone could also see those who were tagged in the video. Luckily, only the ones who were granted access by a user’s Facebook’s privacy settings could actually play the video

The whole thing was just a mistake, of course, and was not supposed to happen at all. Videos, including their thumbnails and descriptions, were supposed to be completely private if the user wished them so. As such, Facebook fixed it within the week and it didn’t really cause much of a stir.

Most likely, you wouldn’t even have been harmed if you had posted something harmless or posted nothing at all. However, such is not always the case in Zuckerberg’s little blue kingdom. People can post some pretty embarrassing things that would have been better left far, far away from cyberspace. In fact, people sometimes post things that could land them in jail or get them fired. Thumbnails can be pretty revealing, same with titles and descriptions. Just the presence of them could warrant some undue curiosity from an unintended audience. This glitch might just have caused millions of awkward situations all over the globe. Imagine one of your friends seeing a video thumbnail that piques their curiosity, they click on the link only to realize your privacy settings keep them from viewing it. Depending on who the person is, you might have some explaining to do! The possibilities are pretty much endless – and no doubt pretty amusing if you’re just a spectator. But things are no doubt very different for the victims of this small glitch.

In the end, this incident imparts a pretty important lesson that we’d all do well to learn: privacy settings are not foolproof. In fact, they’re very much prone to glitches and such, especially with Facebook’s penchant for introducing new updates without notice. Do not trust the Internet with any of your more ‘sensitive’ data – no matter how tempting it may be.

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