Google has blamed a coding error for a glitch that "flagged as inappropriate" many users' Google Docs documents, locking them out of their own files.
The glitch left many users unable to access their accounts or files for up to 24 hours.
V3 understands that the issue has now been fixed.
Not surpisingly, many users took to Twitter in a state of alarm.
Has anyone had @googledocs lock you out of a doc before? My draft of a story about wildlife crime was just frozen for violating their TOS.— Rachael Bale (@Rachael_Bale) 31 October 2017
After almost a day, and an avalanche of user complaints, a Google Docs team member finally posted on the product forum a note to confirm that the problem had been identified, rectified and that access should have been restored.
It transpires that even Google sometimes pushes code live that hasn't been properly checked, which is what the company says happened in this instance.
"We made a code push that incorrectly flagged a small percentage of Google Docs as abusive, which caused those documents to be automatically blocked. A fix is in place and all users should have full access to their docs," Google's spokesperson wrote.
While it might seem that no harm has ultimately been done now that access has been fully restored, the fact that Google can at any time cut customers off, denying them the ability to access their own, private files has made a lot of people nervous.
Many internet users take advantage of Google's cloud-based Drive services without keeping their own local backups. They could be left exposed if something similar happens in the future.
Google, though, has pledged that it "will put processes in place to prevent this from happening again" in the future.
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