Did you ever record a video on Facebook to post directly to your friend's wall, only to discard the take and film a new version? You may have thought those embarrassing draft versions were deleted, but Facebook kept a copy. The company is blaming it on a "bug" and swears that it's going to delete those discarded videos now. They pinkie promise this time.
Last week, New York's Select All broke the story that social network was keeping the seemingly deleted old videos. The continued existence of the draft videos was discovered when several users downloaded their personal Facebook archives - and found numerous videos they never published. Today, Select All got a statement from Facebook blaming the whole thing on a "bug". From Facebook via New York:
We investigated a report that some people were seeing their old draft videos when they accessed their information from our Download Your Information tool. We discovered a bug that prevented draft videos from being deleted. We are deleting them and apologise for the inconvenience. We appreciate New York Magazine for bringing the issue to our attention.
It was revealed last month that the data-harvesting firm (and apparent bribery consultants) Cambridge Analytica had acquired the information of about 50 million Facebook users and abused that data to help US President Trump get elected. Specifically, the company was exploiting the anger of voters through highly-targeted advertising. And in the wake of the ensuing scandal, people have been learning all kinds of crazy things about Facebook.
Facebook users have been downloading some of the data that the social media behemoth keeps on them and it isn't pretty. For example, Facebook has kept detailed call logs from users with Android phones. The company says that Android users had to opt-in for the feature, but that's a garbage cop-out when you take a look at what the screen for "opting in" actually looks like.
There's a huge chasm between informed consent and what Facebook makes you do to utilise its product. When was the last time you actually read a user agreement before clicking on it?
Gizmodo has reached out to Facebook for comment about any other data that it may be retaining which was supposedly discarded. We'll update this post if we hear back, but the company has been less than forthcoming recently. Facebook wasn't exactly a model of transparency before the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, but it's been especially tight-lipped as of late.
Give us a call, Facebook. You know the number. Obviously.