Facebook admits bug made some posts erroneously public last month

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Facebook Inc. has blamed a software bug for making posts public in late May — regardless of whether users intended to share the information publicly.

The error, which has been since corrected, is the latest setback for the company, and challenges a key point that executives have made publicly to rebuild trust among users and government officials: that users have full control over their data and ultimately control what they share and with whom they share it.

“That’s the most important thing that we do,” Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in his April U.S. congressional testimony. “And I think that, in the product, that’s quite clear.”

In all, some 14 million users who had previously shared their posts with limited audiences but posted publicly during the time the bug was live — May 18 through May 27 — are being notified to go back and review their posts’ settings.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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