Facebook's subtle disclosure about storing millions of Instagram passwords in plain text before a holiday weekend shows it has mastered the art of the news dump (Heather Kelly/CNN)


“Since this post was published, we discovered additional logs of Instagram passwords being stored in a readable format. We now estimate that this issue impacted millions of Instagram users,” says the update. The original post revealed Facebook stored passwords for hundreds of millions of its Facebook users and “tens of thousands” of Instagram users as plain text in a database that could be accessed by its staff.

After more than a year of seemingly endless scandals for the social network, its communications team appears to have settled on some favorite techniques to minimize the damage of these types of announcements. Sometimes called “news dumps,” these timing tricks are used for news about topics like hacks, the mishandling of customer data, and bad behavior by executives. One approach is announcing something late on a Friday afternoon after the markets close, so investors have time to digest the news without hurting the stock. It is also when news consumers are turning their attention to relaxing weekend plans, and reporters are heading out for the day. A company will also sometimes hold on to bad news and share it when an unrelated massive news story breaks