Facebook Randomly Unblocking Users

Yet another case of Facebook mismanaging our data any worse. I left facebook for good recently, and will likely write a post soon about why I did so, but things like this make me glad I did.

I don't trust Facebook as a company, and although they publicly announced this bug, I just don't understand how something like this took so long to discover.

The bug, in short, randomly unblocked people who you had previously blocked.

Starting today we are notifying over 800,000 users about a bug in Facebook and Messenger that unblocked some people they had blocked. The bug was active between May 29 and June 5 — and while someone who was unblocked could not see content shared with friends, they could have seen things posted to a wider audience. For example pictures shared with friends of friends. We know that the ability to block someone is important — and we’d like to apologize and explain what happened.

On the one hand, yes, they admitted what happened, disclosed it responsibily, and seem to have already corrected the issue.

On the other hand, how long do we keep letting them do this?

It's easy if you're lucky enough to never have had to deal with cyber bullying, harassment, stalking, or any other abuse online, to think that it's not really that big of a deal that people you blocked got randomly unblocked, but it shouldn't be hard to put yourself in someone elses shoes who has.

There are people out there who make the internet a truly terrifying place to be. An abusive ex may have used Facebook or something similar in the past to look at the things you're doing, and try to show up somewhere that you may have been or may be going. It's not hard to immagine a bunch of horrible things that they could do with access to your Facebook information, particularly if you use Facebook frequently. This is not fictional, or theoretical. It happens all the time.

The small piece of comfort you could get is that if you blocked someone, it really blocks them. They can't see your posts, they can't see your info, and you should be safe from them on Facebook. Until the day you're not, and a random "bug" in their software just decides to start unblocking these people. This is far more serious than a few people accidentally seeing their crazy uncle rant about politics again for a few days, even though you blocked him. This is dangerous.

FB acknowledges this, barely, with the following statement -

There are many reasons why people block another person on Facebook. For example, their relationship may have changed or they may want to take a break from someone posting content they find annoying. Other reasons are more serious like harassment or bullying.

I don't believe that Facebook did this maliciously. I think this is yet another example that protecting your privacy and your data is not top priority to them. I would argue that it isn't at all a priority to them, because there isn't any evidence of them taking it seriously.