The Facebook privacy issue…that wasn’t.


It seems like we barely go a week without hearing about some hack, security breach or online dissemination of private information.

And despite the PR and social media maelstrom that inevitably follows each of these breaches of public trust, the offending corporations never seem to get the message.

It’s even worse with repeat offenders.

Case in point: today TechCrunch reported that Facebook had allegedly released the private messages of certain users, and published that information on users’ timelines.

The released messages apparently spanned the years 2006 through 2009.

Some surmise that what most likely happened is that Facebook (once again) changed their privacy policies, and as a result, those who had not opted out of some draconian setting, found their (once thought private) messages very publicly displayed in their timelines.

Facebook immediately denied that any user’s private conversation had been compromised.

They explained that today was the global rollout of Timeline, and that with the various iterations of Facebook’s UI, conversations that used to occur on folks’ walls (when Facebook was a tighter more closed universe), were now appearing in users’ Timelines.

Despite the fears that were first raised by Facebook users in France, Facebook confirmed that they had never, in fact, released the private conversations of any of it’s users.

I, for one, remain skeptical.

If users’ messages, wall posts, or what have you were always ‘public’ why weren’t they on their respective Timelines before?

And if they were there before, why the brouhaha over them now?

Clearly folks are feeling away about the sudden appearance of content in their accounts that weren’t there before.

They were tucked away in some other non-public, less visible place, making their sudden reappearance unnerving to many.

Facebook needs to stop changing shit on folks so much.

Their constantly changing interface and privacy policies makes it difficult for the average user to keep up with.

Who knows if we’ve seen the end of this issue.

But I know that folks are going to be a lot more careful of what they say (and send) via Facebook from now on!

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Filed under digital advocacy, social media

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