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Facebook has been grappling with privacy controversies very publicly since the Cambridge Analytica data scandal broke. Photo: Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

Facebook experienced a bug that temporarily unblocked some users from interacting with users who had previously blocked them.

Why it matters: Once again, the company is apologizing for a user privacy violation, this time in a feature that is key to address harassment and abuse. "We know that the ability to block someone is important — and we’d like to apologize and explain what happened," said Erin Egan, the company's chief privacy officer, in a Monday blog post.

The details:

  • Egan said that beginning "today we are notifying over 800,000 users about a bug in Facebook and Messenger that unblocked some people they had blocked."
  • Blocking a user also unfriends them, and Egan said that the bug that unblocked some users did not restore those Facebook friendships. It did, however, allow the formerly-blocked user to view content posted by the person who had blocked them if it was shared beyond their immediate Facebook friends.
  • "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," she said in the blog post.

Separately, Facebook announced on Monday a further tightening of the ways developers could access user information on Monday as it continues to try to address privacy concerns.

Go deeper

Updated 4 mins ago - World

Russian police arrest over 3,000 protesters demanding Navalny's release

Photo: OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP via Getty Images

Russian police on Saturday arrested more than 3,300 people as protesters nationwide demanded that opposition leader Alexey Navalny be released from jail.

Details: Demonstrations that began in the eastern regions of Russia spread west to more than 60 cities. At least 3,324 of people were detained and tens of thousands of others protested into the night despite the presence of law enforcement and extremely low temperatures, per the OVD-Info group, which monitors political arrests.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of the Trump-endorsed Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries — Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca vaccine.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.