Users vow to desert Facebook amid latest scandal
By Alex Mann, Sophie McNeill and Michael Atkin
Frustrated users say they are convinced Facebook has breached their privacy and are vowing to quit the social network, despite official denials that private messages have been exposed.
Over 100 Facebook users have written to triple j’s Hack, shocked to find what they claim are private messages appearing on their profiles as publicly visible messages “posted by friends”.
The problem was first raised by French tabloid newspaper MetroFrance almost one month ago, but since then a flood of similar reports has emerged in countries all over the world.
Heavyweight technology websites TechCrunch and TNW were quick to launch their own investigations into users’ claims the social media site’s timeline update, recently rolled out in France, was causing privacy headaches.
TNW dispatched their Facebook specialist Josh Constantine, who found email receipts showed the supposed private messages were in fact wall posts, and the posts did not appear in users’ Facebook messages inbox.
Constantine’s investigation supports the official statement supplied by Facebook to TechCrunch:
Every report we’ve seen, we’ve gone back and checked. We haven’t seen one report that’s been confirmed. A lot of the confusion is because before 2008 there were no likes and no comments on wall posts. People went back and forth with wall posts instead of having a conversation [via comments].
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.
But in spite of Facebook’s public explanations, users continue to believe their privacy has been breached and many are vowing to quit.