Yahoo owned Flickr was affected by a bug a few days back. This bug caused photos marked for private viewing to become publicly available. Flickr issued an email to some of its users informing them about this bug. They discovered this software bug while performing routine maintenance checks and realized that the photos that people marked as private for viewing only by family and friends were instead becoming public. Flickr has resorted to several additional measures to ensure that this does not happen again.
This software bug affected some of the images that had been uploaded between April and December 2012. This bug affected only a small percentage of photographs. However, if we take into consideration the fact that 1.4 million photos marked public were being uploaded on Flickr in 2012, it will mean that millions of photos could have been affected.
Yahoo did not immediately answer questions asking them as to how many users were impacted and whether or not Yahoo has been able to contact all affected users. Flick was also unable to advise users whether anyone had actually viewed their photos.
According to the email sent to its user flick stated that Flickr’s own search engine did not display the affected photos. Neither were these photos allowed to be indexed by third party search engines. However, the public would have been able to see the pictures when they visited an impacted user’s Flickr photostream or even while browsing to the image with the help of a link.
As a preventive measure, Flickr has changed the settings on all potentially affected images to private. However, this kind of all inclusive change causes the public images embedded in third party websites or even linked from other websites to display a broken link. Several users have lodged a complaint with Flickr that they are now required to manually review all images and try to spot the ones that actually are meant to be public but have been marked private instead.