Google Photos bug sent private videos to strangers

Mariella Moon
Associate Editor
_ultraforma_ via Getty Images

If you used Google Takeout to back up your Photos files from November 21st to 25th, 2019, a stranger out there may have a copy of your videos. The tech giant has started sending out emails, warning users about a bug that may have affected their backup requests. During that period last year, the email reads, "some videos in Google Photos were incorrectly exported to unrelated users' archives." That means someone out there may have a copy of your (hopefully wholesome) videos, and you may have a copy of someone else's, as well.

As you can see, Google will tell you clearly if any of your files were affected. Further, the warning notes that backups made during that five-day period may be incomplete. Google says it has already identified and resolved the issue and suggests deleting the export you made in November to make a new one. Of course, you can only hope that Google didn't mistakenly put your videos in the hands of someone unscrupulous.

Thankfully, only 0.01 percent of Photos users were affected, the company told 9to5Google, and the bug wasn't present in any other Google product. It also told the publication:

"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."