Maintaining a social media platform as large as Facebook is a tedious task. We’ve seen the company take the flak for bugs and blunders that went from funny to unfunny to seriously dangerous.
If one is to recall, Facebook has had 5 such bugs in the last half-decade or so. Seeing only those bugs, we can safely say that Facebook, in its present form, is a bag of cats. Nobody has any idea what next stunt the Zuck bug might pull and how many people see Kanye West getting wished good morning.
So without further ado, let’s have a look at the top 5 Facebook bugs that showed nothing is perfect:
1. Celebrity-tagged posts shown to all (Aug. 2022)
The most recent and hands-down the spammiest but otherwise harmless bug so far. This bug affected anyone and everyone following any celebrities on Facebook. While I have written an article explaining what it did, let me simplify it through an example.
Let’s say you follow Ronaldo on Facebook. Now there are thousands of people that tag Ronaldo in “good morning” posts, but you only see such a post if someone you know does this. However, the Facebook celebrity tag bug showed every good morning message to everyone following Ronaldo.
Spammy, but harmless. Harmless enough that a Turkey sandwich meme started doing rounds on the internet once users learned of this bug.
2. Reaction Swipes bug (August 2017)
Spotted on Facebook for Android, this is another harmless but misleading Facebook bug. While there’s no evidence of its presence on iOS, nobody knows if Facebook fixed this on the Android app. The reaction swipe bug would double the number of people who reacted to your FB post each time you swipe across reactions.
While the counter on the top will show the right number of likes, the list underneath keeps multiplying. Again, harmless, but a bug is a bug. Nobody knows how many people were hit.
3. Facebook news bug (March 2022)
While the entire scheme of Facebook news seems like a bug to me, it has actually been bugged a couple of times. The most recent and notable example was the March 2022 bug that promoted hateful content on the platform.
This affected users across the web, iOS, and Android apps as it was tampering with the ranking methods. The FB news feed bug was not only spam but dangerous as it promoted information and fueled hate. Moreover, it snuck under the platform’s nose for roughly six months before it was resolved.
4. User photos exposed to other apps (December 2018)
While the other Facebook bugs had some humor to some extent, this one was a blatant violation of user privacy. When you allow an app to see your Facebook photos (when you sign up using Facebook), the company usually only shares the pictures you’ve posted. So the shared images are already in the public domain.
However, this bug exposed other photos as well. There are photos that a user may have uploaded but never posted to Facebook for one reason or the other. While the platform isn’t supposed to share these photos, third-party app developers got access to them through this bug.
5. Facebook Messenger hacking bug (November 2020)
The Messenger bug is hands-down the most dangerous and sophisticated bug on this list. Caught during a Facebook bug bounty challenge, this bug could let hackers call you and listen to you even before you pick up the call.
This bug affected Facebook Android app users, but it was also a difficult one to execute. The hacker and user both had to be on the Facebook Android app, and the user needed to be logged into a web version of Messenger too. Can we consider this a +1 in the Android vs iOS game? I don’t know. Tell me in the comments.
Facebook is a massive platform, and every platform has its fair share of bugs and blunders. However, the timely resolution is key when you have a vast user base that shares personal data on the platform. Facebook has time and again failed to be swift in acting against the bugs.
If we steer clear of the bugs, Facebook’s video platform has been highly volatile towards creators. There are features that are being misused at large, and Meta, as a whole, has not responded to it so far. We’ve been reached out by several creators after highlighting the issue, but nobody seems to have heard back from Facebook or Meta.
So if you had a good laugh reading the first two bugs, and you learned something new reading the other three, please share this article with others you know. And if you know any other bugs that should be on the list, comment ahead.