Facebook row after users complain of messages 'bug'

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Facebook users were on the warpath overnight, after claiming that private messages they sent between 2007 and 2009 were being published publicly on their profiles. They were outraged at the 'bug' that invaded their privacy.

It's yet another unwelcome privacy row for Facebook. What's odd about this one is that it's all a misunderstanding.

The rumours

Rumours of private messages appearing on public profiles started circulating last night. They started in France and spread across the world. And as each user went into their timeline to check very old posts, many more were convinced that private messages were out there for all to see.

Twitter and Facebook were both alive with people outraged that their privacy was being invaded.


However, Facebook was swift to respond, denying the problem. It said that old messages were appearing on profiles, but that these weren't private messages, they were public ones. These had always been available for all to see - it's just that most people hadn't delved that far back in their timeline recently.

A spokesperson added: "A lot of the confusion is because before 2009 there were no likes and no comments on wall posts. People went back and forth with wall posts instead of having a conversation".

Facebook's director of engineering, Andrew Bosworth, made an announcement, saying: "In case there was any concern, these are just wall posts and not personal messages... people just forget how we used to use the wall!," he said.

The site issued a statement, saying: "Facebook is satisfied that there has been no breach of user privacy."


It's a timely reminder that it's worth taking the time to look through our profile and consider a spring clean of old messages we may have posted before we were so worried about privacy - perhaps before we entered the world of work, or before we were alive to the breadth of coverage a Facebook status update could achieve.

The world has changed a great deal in the last five years - and so have we. Now may be the time to check if the things we were saying and feeling back then really ought to be in the public domain now.

Meanwhile it goes to show the concern surrounding privacy and Facebook, and how its has to constantly fight for its reputation.

It was a depressing day all round for Facebook, after US publication Barron said the share was horribly overpriced and worth about $15. The shares fell just over 9% in a day to $20.79 - it's a far cry from the launch price of $38 a share. However, this fall was not linked to the rumours about privacy.

10 biggest companies in the world
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Facebook row after users complain of messages 'bug'

Wal-Mart Stores, or Walmart, is an American retailer that runs chains of discount department and warehouse stores around the world.

The company was founded by Sam Walton in 1962, incorporated on October 31, 1969, and first traded on the New York Stock Exchange in 1972. It is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas and has around 8,500 stores in 15 countries, under 55 different names.

Royal Dutch Shell, more commonly known as Shell, is a global oil and gas company headquartered in Holland, but with its registered office in London.

With operations in more than 90 countries, it is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.

Exxon Mobil Corporation, or ExxonMobil, is an American oil and gas corporation formed on November 30, 1999, by the merger of Exxon and Mobil. Its headquarters are in Irving, Texas.

With 37 oil refineries in 21 countries, Exxon Mobil Corporation is the largest refiner in the world.

BP is yet another global oil and gas company, this time headquartered in London. It has operations in more than 80 countries, produces about 3.8 million barrels of oil per day and has 22,400 service stations worldwide.

The name BP is derived from the initials of one of the company's former legal names, British Petroleum.

Sinopec Group is one of the major petroleum companies in China, headquartered in Beijing.

Its business includes oil and gas exploration as well as the production and sales of petrochemicals and chemical fibres.

China National Petroleum Corporation is a state-owned fuel-producing corporation and the largest integrated oil and gas company in China. It has its headquarters in Beijing.

CNPC - the parent company of PetroChina - was created in 17 September 1988 when the government decided to disband the Ministry of Petroleum and create a state owned company to handle all Petroleum activities in China.

State Grid Corporation of China is the largest electric power transmission and distribution company in China, once again headquartered in Beijing.

It has subsidiaries in Northern China, Northeastern China, Eastern China, Middle China and Northwestern China.

Toyota Motor Corporation, more commonly known simply as Toyota, is a multinational automaker headquartered in Toyota, Japan.

The company was founded by Kiichiro Toyoda in 1937 as a spinoff from his father's company Toyota Industries. Its brands include Toyota, Lexus and Daihatsu.

Japan Post Holdings is a state-owned Japanese company that deals with mail delivery and financial services.

It is headquartered in Tokyo and was founded on January 23, 2006.

Chevron Corporation is an American energy company headquartered in San Ramon, California.

It is active in more than 180 countries and is engaged in every aspect of the oil, gas, and geothermal energy industries, including exploration and production, and power generation.


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