According to TechCrunch, some users began reporting direct messages that they'd sent and received from friends showing up on their Timeline and in friends' Timelines. This issue is being reported across North America and Europe.
As of this writing, Facebook says there is no bug causing this to happen. TechCrunch received this email from a Facebook spokesperson in response to the issue:
"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."
Despite this statement, TechCrunch blogger Colleen Taylor says she's still seeing old direct messages in her Timeline, leading us to believe the issue hasn't been fully resolved yet.
If this error is happening to you, Huffington Post is recommending the following course of action:
- Click on a month or year in the Timeline list on the right side of your Facebook profile.
- Look for the "Friends" box that appears in your Timeline.
- Click on the Edit button (the pencil that says "Edit or Remove" on mouseover), then select "Hide from Timeline. You could also go through each individual post, but that's your call.
UPDATE (9:30 p.m.): According to a CBC story, Facebook has looked into the issue and says that they are "satisfied that there has been no breach of user privacy."
Despite Facebook adamantly denying that no private messages have been exposed, users across the world say they can confirm private messages sent to other users appeared on their timelines today. Facebook's spokesperson suggests that it could appear that private messages had been exposed because earlier communication on Facebook looked like a message exchange: instead of the comment system currently used to reply to wall posts, users used to post back and forth to each other's walls.
A spokesperson from the office of Canada's privacy commissioner says that they are looking into the complaints, although a formal investigation has not been launched.