04 February 2020
Google has officially acknowledged that it accidentally shared videos of a few Google Photos users with strangers. This happened because of a bug present in the Google Takeout service. It allows users to take a backup of their data and download the same for using it with some other service.
It said that between November 21 to 25 last year, Google Photos added videos of strangers to data backups exported by certain users. It has not explained the exact issue in detail and is referring to the same simply as "technical issue". It resulted in private videos getting "incorrectly exported to unrelated users' archives".
It is reported that the issue affected only 0.01% of Google Photos users that used Takeout service between the aforementioned dates. It appears to be a tiny number but considering there are over a billion users, even a fraction will translate into a big number. The good thing is that Google has started sending out emails to affected users to alert them about the situation.
Google has added that the underlying issue has been detected and fixed since then. It has advised affected users to delete previously downloaded backup and download a fresh copy. It says that the new backup will include all the correct files.
Here is the complete statement Google shared with 9to5Google folks,
“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. 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.”