UPDATE, 2:25 pm: A Facebook statement now reads, “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.”
“I’m so glad I’m not on Facebook.” –Non-Facebook users, gloating today
Have a Facebook account? Check your Timeline. Right now.
Some Facebook users have reported seeing private messages show up as wall posts (“Posted by friends”) that can be read by anyone who goes back to 2009 on your Timeline. For those affected, most of the now-public messages appear to be from 2007-2009, but some users are reporting more recent messages are also appearing on their Timelines.
French users were the first to cry foul about this privacy scandal, and most reports about the problem are coming from French media. The French site 20Minutes.fr contacted Facebook, which said that they are “in the middle of investigating to see whether this is a bug or not a bug.”
French news giant Le Monde is also leading with a story called “Private Messages Made Public: Dark Day for Facebook.
It looks as if you can go back to 2009, click the pencil icon and hide the messages. But it’s unclear whether or not that will fix the bug/hack.
Some American users are just seeing wall posts. Some have reported seeing partial messages. Bottom line: Go and check to make sure you’re safe.
This could be much ado about nothing within hours. Or this could be the day people leave Facebook for good. More as it develops …