One of the Administrators of Facebook group BRCA gene became suspicious after seeing a Chrome plugin that allowed marketers to discover information about the members of the group. She contacted a security researcher who confirmed the security flaw in the private groups and reported it to the company.
Facebook immediately decided to close the loophole especially as the group that noticed it would have had names of members relating to gene mutation which is associated with high-risk breast cancer. If the names of the members were to be exposed it would be a major violation of Facebooks policies. A spokesperson from Facebook said that shutting down the ability to view members of the private group was a decision taken on various factors but it was not meant for this particular group. The company have also prioritized “groups” as one of the business strategies with the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg telling CNN:
“If what you’re trying to do is run a group that has thousands of people, you need tools to help manage that.”
The company has been also dealing with the European Union, one of the fiercest regulatory authories in the world. The new General Data Protection Regulation has improved the privacy of the personal data far beyond social security numbers to social life on public social networks. Andrea Downing moderates this members-only group for women that have a gene mutation which terms for a high probable case for breast cancer.
All the members of this group don’t want their identities known to the public. Downing also said that these groups didn’t use the Facebook’s most restrictive privacy settings as that would make the group invisible for newcomers. Downing also added that members of this group often deal with privacy issues that make them feel vulnerable and social media is showing a way to share their stories.