You may have though that you had permanently muted that pedantic, annoying former “friend” on Facebook by hitting the “block” button — but as it turns out, a bug in the social network had other plans for your online relationship. A hiccup in both Facebook and Facebook Messenger resulted in the unblocking of some annoying digital denizens. In fact, over 800,000 Facebook users had their blocked preferences undone, which could’ve meant that their content was perhaps seen by users that were deemed less than desirable audiences.
“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,” wrote Erin Egan, Chief Privacy Officer at Facebook. “We know that the ability to block someone is important,” Egan continued, and explained that the bug was not so far reaching that it completely reversed the initial blocking action.
“When you block someone on Facebook they cannot see things you post on your profile, start conversations with you on Messenger, or add you as a friend,” the executive noted. “Blocking also automatically unfriends them if you were previously friends.” When it came to this particular bug, former friends who had since been removed were not re-added to a user’s account, and about 83 percent of the people affected by the bug had only one person they had previously blocked become temporarily unblocked. That said, those who were unblocked likely had the ability to contact their blocker via Messenger — a less than desirable outcome.
But fret not: Facebook has fixed the issue, and as Egan noted, “everyone has been blocked again.” If you were one of the individuals affected by the bug, you should receive a notification the next time you log on, asking you to double check your block list.
If you were previously unaware of your ability to block certain users, here’s your chance to make your Facebook a bit less cluttered. For additional information on how to block a Facebook user, or for the social network’s resources on how best to address online bullying or harassment, you can check out Facebook’s safety site.