Over the coming few days, you might receive a notification from Facebook that says that it patched a software bug that unblocked people.
You might be one of 800.000 Facebook users that might have been affected by a bug that simply unblocks users that you had previously blocked. This means that the blocked person would suddenly be able to see your posts and reach you via Messenger. The bug was live for about a week between May and June.
The repercussions of this flaw can range from a few pestering acquaintances making a comeback to creepy stalkers getting to reach you again.
Facebook is already hard to manage. Not responding to friend requests can be considered rude, even when they come from casual acquaintances or work colleagues. Facebook does have settings that allow users to restrict access to the content they publish for different people, but those are too time-consuming and not very easily accessible either. Blocking was one of the easier options, though perhaps sometimes severe depending on the circumstances.
These sorts of issues have become almost routine for Facebook. While the company has been active trying to appease its audience, reaction has been often slow (as we saw again here) and relaxed at times. In more serious cases, such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it would be hard to label Facebook as relaxed; a much more accurate term would be negligent.
Facebook announced both the bug and the fix in a blog post on Monday. But since the bug was live since late May at least – Facebook became aware of it on May 31 to be exact – it means that it took the company a whole month to fix it and alert users.
The social media giant justified the delay by saying that “it took till June 5 to restore the blocks”; the company also conducted due diligence to make sure that they had identified all the people that were affect, built the notification messages, and get the translations done.
Facebook has already start notifying people about the issue since yesterday.