Facebook users discovered last week that the tech company had secretly kept videos they had recorded but never published to the platform.
Facebook released tools that allowed users to download their archived Facebook data and this led people to discover videos they had never posted online among their saved information.
The videos come from a time before the platform introduced Facebook Live. Back then you could post a video to a friend’s wall, and they could respond with a video of theirs. To make this possible, users could allow Facebook access to their camera, record a video, and then post it directly to a friend’s wall. If the video did not come out as desired, there was an option to delete it and start over. However, even after the video was deleted, the recording was not truly trashed, instead, it was archived to the server under the user’s profile.
These videos never appeared on the website, so the user had no idea it was out there, but they were presumably accessible by any app that you granted access to your information. They may have even been publicly available with the right tools.
New York Magazine exposed Facebook’s saving of this information, and this week representatives have apologized and promised to delete the junk Flash-formatted videos.
The social media giant said: “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 apologize for the inconvenience. We appreciate New York Magazine for bringing the issue to our attention.”
In addition to the videos, users of the Facebook Android app have discovered detailed logs of calls and text messages sent to and from their phones. Facebook says the feature was “opt-in,” but whether the dialog asking for permission explicitly stated that this information was being collected is uncertain.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal seems to have opened a level of scrutiny regarding privacy that Facebook could not have anticipated.