Zuck, Your Privacy’s Showing

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Rick Wilking / Reuters

Ah, to be the public face of a wildly successful tech company. Some of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s private photos have been made public thanks to a brief security glitch on the site.

There are some real doozies too: One of him in an apron! Did you know he eats French fries?! And sushi! He dressed as himself for Halloween! He has a dog! There’s one with Obama that looks kind of interesting! And one with a rooster! Or maybe it’s a chicken.

So how did these otherwise private photos make their way to the open Internet? According to CNET, which sources a bodybuilding forum, of all places, the process involved (note the past tense) reporting a photo posted to someone’s account as inappropriate. After reporting it, you were given the option to report additional photos from that person’s account, at which point you’d be shown a selection of the person’s photos—even ones that were supposed to be private.

That’s all ancient history now, however, as Facebook has responded with the following:

Earlier today, we discovered a bug in one of our reporting flows that allows people to report multiple instances of inappropriate content simultaneously. The bug allowed anyone to view a limited number of another user’s most recently uploaded photos irrespective of the privacy settings for these photos. This was the result of one of our recent code pushes and was live for a limited period of time. Upon discovering the bug, we immediately disabled the system, and will only return functionality once we can confirm the bug has been fixed.

This explains the relatively mundane nature of Zuck’s photos; they were merely some of his recent uploads. Nevertheless, they’ve been snatched from Facebook and posted to one of the most popular image-sharing sites around—the toothpaste is out of the tube, so to speak.

The moral of the story, as previously mentioned here on Techland: “The best approach to Facebook privacy is to assume there isn’t any.”

MORE: Facebook and Privacy: Imperfect Together