California Man Bombarded with Facebook Messages Meant for Stranger

oopsUsers are required to provide an email address when they register for Facebook. This makes sense, of course, though things can take an interesting (and hard to fix) turn if the email address entered is incorrect. For instance: the case of a 63-year-old tax attorney in California, Paul Gordon Hoffman, whose email account was flooded with private Facebook messages intended for a stranger.

Hoffman received messages from a woman named Sherri addressed to a Facebook user named Patrick, and many of the messages were personal; over the course of the one-sided correspondence, Sherri actually broke up with Patrick. Hoffman continuously attempted to unsubscribe from the messages, and even sent a snail mail letter to Facebook asking for the messages to stop. He also told his daughter about his situation, who reported it to Facebook and messaged Patrick in attempt to warn him. However, none of it worked, and Hoffman never heard back from Facebook.

“Facebook’s failure to deal with the situation compromises the privacy of the intended recipient of the emails, and annoys me and has wasted (and continues to waste) my time,” Hoffman said. “The situation seems futile; Facebook just doesn’t care that they’re potentially breaching the confidentiality of their user, and annoying others.”

However, Facebook now has a specialized form that users can fill out if this privacy breach occurs.