UPDATE: Since posting this article to our Facebook page, several readers insist that they have indeed had private messages posted to their Timeline. In light of this conflicting information, we encourage everyone to visit their Timeline and verify they have not suffered a privacy breach. We have also reached out to Facebook and will update if any new information is forthcoming.
*Facebook Update – Facebook Spokesperson Fred Wolens stated, “I have spent a couple days reviewing reports from all over the world and we are confident that no private messages have been leaked. These are two separate systems, running two separate languages, and for a leak to occur it would be a non-trivial, non-small scale issue. To confirm these are in fact old wall posts, we recommend users look through their old emails for a Facebook notification or use the method described below.
You can inspect for yourself using a Facebook Developer account.
Rollover the timestamp grab the POSTID.
Throw it in the Graph API Explorer https://developers.facebook.com/tools/explorer with /PROFILEID_POSTID or curlhttp://graph.facebook.com/PROFILEID_POSTID.
The evidence speaks for itself, it shows up as a Status object.
You can push more with even browsing your conversation via http://www.facebook.com/YOURUSERNAME?and=FRIENDUSERNAME&…”
Another privacy related Facebook hoax has recently gone viral. Well meaning users are posting the bogus warning shown below:
“Dear Facebookers – Your private inbox messages are now visible for all to see, from 2009 and later. This could get VERY awkward, very quickly…this is a new change from Facebook as of yesterday. Don’t believe me? Read your timeline from those years…yikes! They look like wall posts…..they are not!
There’s an easy fix–when you’re in your own timeline, just click on the year on the right (2007, 2008, 2009) and you’ll see a box with a bunch of friends’ messages and a header that says 89 people have written on Jen’s timeline–hover over the right until you see the pencil, click and select hide from timeline. Do that for each year.
This is for real friends. (Post this so all your friends can update theirs as well!) I had emails posted every year since 2008 on timeline!”
Attention facebook users: Prior to 2011, private inbox messages have been posted on peoples timelines and can be viewed by anyone who can view your timeline. I had to manually hide these posts. Click on “Timeline” and then a year at the top of your facebook page when you scroll. Each year one of the first timeline entries will say “x number people posted on your wall”. These are actually your inbox messages, not your wall posts. So click the “edit” button and remove from timeline.
On Monday, several blogs issued a warning advising users that Facebook was posting private messages to user Timelines from 2009 and earlier. TechCrunch got to the bottom of the matter and confirmed that no private messages were posted: the content in question, was in fact, status updates.
Facebook issued the following statement in response:
“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.”
CNN also reported the following: “Facebook says that if you can comment or Like that activity, then it is a wall post and not a private message. In the past, users weren’t able to comment and Like posts, so Facebook believes members new to Timeline are confusing old posts for private messages.”
In spite of Facebook’s denial, several users still vehemently claim that their private messages have indeed been posted to their Timeline. It is always a good to visit your Facebook profile on occasion just to make sure everything is in order.
Timeline does raise some privacy concerns if you don’t configure your account and privacy settings appropriately. And, if you are worried about your profile content from years gone by, then you should definitely be proactive and limit what can be seen and by whom. If you would like to take control of your privacy and sharing on Facebook, then see our complete guide:
Spreading false information doesn’t really help anyone, and it can give your friends a false sense of security. Always spend a few minutes and check the facts before passing warnings along to your friends.
If you or your Facebook friends are falling for tricks like this, it’s time to get yourself informed of the latest threats. Be sure to join the Facecrooks community of over 180,000 fans on Facebook to be kept informed of the latest security issues.
BitDefender Safego is a Facebook application you can install that will scan your News Feed and help keep you safe from scams on Facebook.
PRIVATE WiFi® is a Personal VPN that encrypts everything you send and receive. Don’t access Facebook from a public WiFi hotspot without it.
Action Alert | Free Parental Control offers a 100% free Internet safety solution designed for parents. There is also a Maximum Protection option for parents that need a more advanced set of tools.