Facebook says bug changed some users’ default political affiliations

Josh Peterson | Tech Editor

A temporary bug affected the accounts of some Facebook users on Tuesday, causing their listed political views to be reset.

The issue has since been resolved, the company said, but that didn’t stop users — already sensitive from a change made by the company to user default email settings — from assuming the worst of Facebook.

The Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog first noticed the change Tuesday. It appeared that the bug only affected users who had entered free text as their “Political Views,” instead of parties and ideologies already attached to a Facebook Page such as “Liberal,” “Conservative,” “Republican,” “Democrat” or some other large party.

The unauthorized change affected users who might otherwise choose to express their political beliefs in terms outside of traditional partisan lines. The change was not permanent, however, as users were able to restore their previously stated views back to their profile.

Comments on the Examiner’s post ranged from, “Erased mine: ‘Social liberal/Fiscal conservative,'” to, “Yep, mine is gone and putting it back in fails, leaving a blank space.”

Another commenter, unaffected by the bug, said, “I was scared they changed “Classical liberalism to just “liberalism”. Fortunately, they did not.”

“We recently experienced a bug that unpublished some users’ ‘Political Views,’ a Facebook spokesperson told TheDC. “The issue has been resolved and the ‘Political Views’ of those affected have been restored.”

The incident was the second time within the past several days in which it appeared that Facebook was changing user profile information with little prior notification.

Many users noticed over the weekend that their default user email was changed to their Facebook email with little prior warning, igniting yet another uproar against the company.

A Facebook spokesperson had told TheDC that the changes were part of the company’s effort to create user consistency across its website. The changes were first announced in April.

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