25 Sep 2012
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Facebook's backs against the wall over private messages

Facebook has denied rumours that users' private conversations were appearing on public timelines.

The social networking site denied the accusation after some users in France claims private conversations sent between 2007-2009 became public.

"A small number of users raised concerns after what they believed to be private messages appeared on their Timeline," Facebook says.

"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."

Internet experts backed up the claim, believing there is little chance that two areas of data could get mixed up.

But despite assurances many users still believe they have been breached.

"There are messages I've got on my wall that are most definitely private messages! From 2006 all the way up to 2012," says Poppy Dinsey, owner of fashion social network What I Wore Today.

"I'm 100% sure by content and from memory.

"And also some posts on my wall were clearly beginnings of (private) group [messages]."

The lack of acceptance for Facebook's statement caused the sites Head of Safety Charlotte Carnevale Willner to assure users there had been a mix-up.

"Facebook is not publishing your old private messages on your Timeline," she says.

"These are real wall posts that you really had, or really made, back in the day.

"Back then, News Feed didn't really pick up person-to-person wallposts - the wall didn't feel as public then as it does now, and the messages product was still... well... crappy.

"You can check for yourself by scrolling back in your timeline to 2009 or 2008 - take a look at your Friends box for all the wallposts you received.

"You can compare those to the messages you received from the same people during that time period.

"They're different!"

Similar rumours of a privacy breach surfaced in 2011 but again the social networking site stated they were proven to be false.

Have you been breached by Facebook? Check your timeline and let us know

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