UPDATE 4:43PM 9/27/12: What was previously thought to have been a major privacy lapse on Facebook turns out probably to have been a big misunderstanding.
“A small number of users raised concerns after what they mistakenly believed to be private messages appeared on their Timeline,” Fred Wolens of Facebook Policy Communications said in a statement. “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 concern revolved around a new feature on every user’s “Timeline” that collects the public messages the user’s friends have posted in a given year. The way they were organized led some to think they were private messages made public.
The scare did have lessons to teach, according to students.
“It’s a representation of how fast information is passed on,” Michael Gloer ’13 said, referring to the speed with which word of the perceived problem spread.
Students’ anxiety about who would see their private messages also seemed to be an interesting reflection on how students use Facebook.
“More than likely,” Savannah Reese ’14 said, “if people were to see some of their friends’ messages, they wouldn’t be friends anymore.”
Some students still adamantly claim that their private messages were exposed. If you think you were a victim of the bug, let us know by comment or email. Make sure to cross-check the “wall” posts against your private messages first!
ORIGINAL POST: A Facebook glitch or hack appears to have posted users’ private messages on their walls, visible to all of their friends. Students have not taken the news well.
“It sucks. It’s stupid,” Max Friedman ’13 said. “Every personal message that you’ve ever sent before 2011 is posted for everyone to see. Every private message that you’ve ever sent.”
Many are unsure how to react to the development. Some are tempted to look at private messages received by friends, exes, parents, and siblings.
Some, however, see humor in the sudden reversal.
“It’s funny how many secrets people actually have,” Logan Duffy ’13 said.
Details of how the posts are organized are still unclear, but more information can be found in a recent article, which reported on a similar occurrence in France three days ago.