Facebook denies reports of major privacy breach
Old private messages between Facebook users suddenly appear on viewable timelines, according to several reports
Computerworld - Facebook today denied news reports of a major privacy breach involving users who saw their private messages from 2009 and before suddenly appearing on their viewable timelines as messages posted by their friends.
Users reported seeing their private messages, along with viewable wall posts appearing under the "Friends" box in Facebook's Timeline view, according to the news reports. This reporter's Facebook account did not appear to have the problem.
TechCrunch, one of the news sites that carried the story, reported receiving several emails from readers complaining about seeing their older private messages suddenly viewable to others.
The author of the TechCrunch story reported seeing the problem on her own Facebook page and on some of her friends' timelines as well. The issue has surfaced in the U.S. and elsewhere, but it does not appear to affect all Facebook users, according to TechCrunch.
TheNextWeb.com reported receiving emails from readers in the U.S., France, Canada, Brazil, Israel, Netherlands and the U.K. complaining of the same problem. Several newspapers in France, including Le Monde and Metro France, also reported the issue.
A Facebook spokeswoman today downplayed the reports and insisted there was no privacy breach.
"A small number of users raised concerns after what they mistakenly believed to be private messages appeared on their Timeline," the spokeswoman said via email. "Our engineers investigated these reports and found that the messages were older wall posts that had always been visible on the users' profile pages. Facebook is satisfied that there has been no breach of user privacy."
Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at @jaivijayan, or subscribe to Jaikumar's RSS feed . His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about Privacy in Computerworld's Privacy Topic Center.
- Path Selection Infographic Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- How WAN Optimization Helps Enterprises Reduce Costs If you wanted to break down innovation into a tidy equation, it might go something like this: Technology + Connectivity = Productivity. Productivity...
- Data Protection and Disaster Recovery with iSCSI and VMware Get this on demand webcast now
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users? All Privacy White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!