Facebook Group Membership Privacy Breach

When members in a women breast cancer group joined, they believed that the group would be private. Unfortunately, this was not the case for the BRCA Sisterhood group.

BRCA Sisterhood group is group for women that have the BRCA gene and a supportive space for women to discuss what they are going through. The BRCA gene is a mutation in which increases the chance of having breast cancer which may often result in early mastectomy. Due to the sensitive issue being discussed, the group was considered “private”. While the information in the group was not open for outsiders, the people within the group were open and sensitive information could have been revealed.


Members within the group found out that there was a loophole in a Chrome extension which allowed users to download information that was private for a mass amount of people in minutes. Even though the extension created attention to the issue, the private group was visible for a person’s Facebook page. It was possible to download a mass member list through the loophole regarding a Group ID. Facebook has acknowledged that the people in the group were public and that anyone was able to see the member list and the title of the closed group.

Facebook interjected earlier and stated if a someone was in the group they were able to take advantage of the loophole.

It is possible to keep a private member list a “secret”, however if this was the case, the group would be invisible in search results. This would cause another problem for BRCA Sisterhood due to it being “safe” group.

It seems as if Facebook has made a changed to their privacy setting due to the report from CNBC. Even though a representative from Facebook has said that they have gotten a lot of feedback in regards to the membership privacy. Even though they made the change in June, they did not announce the change publicly.

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