Google apologizes after Photos bug accidentally leaks users’ private videos into strangers accounts

  • The bug uploaded private videos to other users’ Google Photos accounts
  • It affected users backing up accounts between November 21 and 25 last year
  • Google says it doesn’t know which videos are affected 
  • The company says 0.01 percent of the 1 billion users were affected 

Google has admitted that a bug in its Photos product caused some private videos to be sent to strangers.

According to the tech giant, the bug affects users who attempted to back up their photos between November 21 and the 25 last year and caused ‘some videos in Google Photos [to be] incorrectly exported to unrelated users’ archives.’ 

In a statement to 9to5Google, the company said that a glitch may have also prevented previous backups from completing and apologized for leaking videos into other people’s accounts an apologized for any ‘inconvenience’ the issue caused. 

‘We are notifying people about a bug that may have affected users who used Google Takeout to export their Google Photos content between November 21 and November 25,’ the company told 9to5Google.

‘These users may have received either an incomplete archive, or videos—not photos—that were not theirs. We fixed the underlying issue and have conducted an in-depth analysis to help prevent this from ever happening again. We are very sorry this happened.’

In a Twitter thread from security researcher, Jon Oberheide, follow-ups with Google suggest that the company doesn’t fully know the extent to which accounts are affected by the bug or what videos have been impacted.

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‘Asked for more information on what/how many videos were impacted and how many parties they were inadvertently shared with,’ wrote Oberheide.

Google responded saying, ‘Unfortunately, we’re not able to provide a full list of impacted videos.’

The bug may not have affected relatively few users, but Google's nonchalance set off alarm bells among security researchers and others (Stock photo)

The bug may not have affected relatively few users, but Google’s nonchalance set off alarm bells among security researchers and others (Stock photo)

According to 9to5Google, less than 0.01 percent of users were affected, though as noted by The Verge, Google Photos has 1 billion users worldwide. 

The issue has been resolved according to Google, though it still recommends deleting any exports during the time of the bug and creating a new one. 

As for the videos that may have been accidentally uploaded into other people’s accounts, users will have to hope that they will remain private. 



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