Run, do not walk, and immediately check your timeline, because all of those private messages you’ve been sending since you joined Facebook could now be visible for the whole world to see.
Facebook is under fire today for what many are calling one of the most serious breaches in Facebook security to date, due to a bug that is placing personal messages from friends directly into the “Posted by friends” section on their timelines.
Sources such as TechCrunch and The Huffington Post have already begun showing screenshots from different Facebook users that they claim are displaying the old private messages publicly, yet Facebook is claiming the exact opposite.
Facebook reached out to TechCrunch and explained the following:
“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.”
The unfortunate thing however, is that Facebook is neglecting to take into account the fact that people know how to take screenshots and use their email accounts to verify that Facebook is in fact wrong.
A quick check of my own timeline revealed hundreds of private messages being displayed in each and every year from 2007 to 2011 on my timeline, and other Facebook users have submitted screenshots such as this one from TechCrunch, which are alleged to have private messages mixed in:
And this screen grab from Le Huffington Post:
How can you ensure that this is not happening to you, and in the case that it is, what can you do to hide these messages? Simple.
In your timeline view, search your profile by each year by clicking on it on the right hand side. Scroll down until you see the “Posts by friends” box and review it for old private messages. Should you find any private messages, simply click on the right hand corner and hide the box from your timeline. Repeat as needed for each year of your timeline.
What do you think? Is this a serious issue, and if so, should Facebook be dismissing it as fast as they have?