Anger as Facebook bug blocked pictures

A graphic of the world with pictures of people mapped on to it Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Photo-scraping software that shows a relevant picture when links are shared in posts failed

Facebook has faced a backlash from users who found some posts disappeared while others couldn't link to content outside the social network.

The problems which began on Thursday followed a software update that seems to have caused the glitch.

Some users wanting to post updates containing links were mistakenly sent a warning saying they were violating the site's security policy.

Facebook has apologised and said it is rolling out a fix for the bug.

It appears the issue was with Facebook's image-scraping tool that automatically detects pictures connected with links to content within posts. The tool is supposed to help users present links to other content with a photo from the site they are linking to. The post, complete with picture, then appears friends' timelines.

Pictures sell content

Publishers who use Facebook to promote their content were particularly vocal about the impact on their businesses.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Facebook forum messages show publishers in particular were worried about the image-blocking bug

"An error in our system that helps block bad links on Facebook incorrectly marked some URLs [web addresses] as malicious or inappropriate. As a result, some existing posts were hidden, while other posts were blocked completely" said Facebook in a statement.

"We've resolved the issue and the remaining affected URLs are being unblocked. We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused."

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