Tech

Facebook: Bug briefly reveals anonymous admins of prominent sites

A software bug on Facebook revealed for a short time on Thursday who created or edited posts as an admin on a Facebook page. The change history for posts on such pages is visible, but the identity of the processor should normally remain anonymous. Opposite the magazine Wired Facebook confirmed the error. The company quickly played out a fix that closed the gap – but by then it was already too late, various finds about the admins of several prominent Facebook pages were circulating on the Internet.

Accordingly, Facebook released a code update on Thursday evening that contained the error. This was quickly discovered and fixed on Friday morning by a fix. The exact period is unclear, the times in the Wired-Report probably refer to the USA. Facebook also thanked a security specialist who informed the company of the error.

In contrast to personal Facebook profiles, which are tied to an individual, Facebook pages are intended for companies, institutions or people in public life, behind whom other people work with their Facebook account as admins and create and change posts. If you open the editing history of such a page, the changes to the posts should be recognizable, but not the editors behind them (unless the owner of a page decides otherwise). This was exactly what the bug made possible for a short time on all Facebook pages worldwide.

But not short enough for the network: At reddit a note of the error appeared, along with an initial screenshot that revealed an admin behind the Facebook page of the artist, alias Banksy. In addition, it quickly came to light that the pages of US President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau are maintained by various employees. The climate activist Greta Thunberg, in turn, is maintained by her parents and at least one other helper. In this way, the side admins of some celebrities emerged, including Hillary Clinton, the rapper Snoop Dogg and the hacking collective Anonymous. Screenshots of the edit history including the admin identity of several pages were also distributed by 4chan and Imgur.

Even if the period was apparently short and the mistakenly disclosed information was not initially visible in the 'normal' side view, this bug can still have a significant impact on Facebook users concerned – the fact that some celebrities are embarrassed about it is the smaller one Evil. However, anyone who publishes a political or civil society concern on a Facebook page and thereby creates opponents or is critically observed by other places is absolutely dependent on their anonymity – such a disclosure could not only be dangerous for critics of authoritarian states.

After several data scandals – most recently an openly accessible illegal copy of 267 million user data – Facebook is campaigning for more trust among users and wants to give them more control over their data. A representative of the company recently presented at CES in Las Vegas that data collection on Facebook is not at the expense of data protection.


(Tiw)



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