Facebook has managed to pull off its biggest privacy gaffe to date. The social network on Monday accidentally began displaying users private messages directly on their Facebook timeline, allowing other users to see their private conversations.
According to Facebook the private messages were those written in 2009 and they showed up as “Posted by friends.”
Facebook users could see their friends messages via their Timelines and view their own direct messages on their own timelines.
The bug appears to be selective at this time as not all users are seeing the messages.
Following the incident a Facebook spokesperson wrote:
“A small number of users raised concerns after what they mistakenly believed to be private messages appeared on their Timeline. 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.”
That response didn’t sit well with TechCrunch writer Colleen Taylor who posted the following direct message wall posting proof:
Facebook being “satisfied” with any type of privacy breach doesn’t really come as a surprise, the company is not exactly known for caring much about user privacy.
Update from Facebook:
“Every report we’ve seen, we’ve gone back and checked. We haven’t seen one report that’s been confirmed [of a private message being exposed]. A lot of the confusion is because before 2009 there were no likes and no comments on wall posts. People went back and forth with wall posts instead of having a conversation [in the comments of single wall post.]“
So it’s not private messages, now it just looks like one more reason to hate Facebook’s Timeline feature.