Facebook privacy snafu turns out to be false alarm, but maybe it's time for some housekeeping

By Sarah Jacobsson Purewal, PC World |  Security, Facebook

On Monday, some Facebook users were alarmed about what they thought was yet another privacy SNAFU by the social network: private messages from 2009 were showing up on their Timelines as public wall posts.

As it turns out, it was a false alarm. The "private" messages that were appearing publicly on people's Timelines were never private at all -- they were just old wall posts from 2009 that people had, well, forgotten about.

Facebook told TechCrunch that they have checked every report and have found no privacy breaches. Instead, users are just confused -- before 2009 there were no Likes or comments on wall posts, and so the posts look more like private message threads.

Facebook also says that there are technical barriers between the two systems that prevent such a privacy snafu from ever happening.

"The two systems are totally separate," Facebook said.

The issue was first reported in French newspapers, including Le Monde and Le Matin, and may have come to light because Facebook's new Timeline format was recently pushed to French users.

Though there's no real story here -- there's been no Facebook privacy snafu, and private messages are still private -- the fact that people actually forgot they'd posted personal-sounding messages on public walls raises a few questions. For example, how much of our online social lives are (still) on the Internet, ready to come back and bite us in the butt at any moment?


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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