Category: Facebook

Two weeks ago, the French newspaper Metro reported that private messages from 2009 had been publicly available to everyone to see on Facebook Timelines in France. A Facebook spokesman declared ”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.” However, this statem there ent is false as many users remembered posting these messages as private inboxes. Let’s just hope you did not post anything embarrassing in a private inbox message or any personal information. What is important to know about Facebook inbox messages is that is no law protecting internet privacy on Facebook. Facebook is legally allowed to read your inbox messages. This bug is the biggest Facebook scandal related to internet privacy yet not a lot of information or press releases have been issued on this matter. It is being looked into in France, but for now hide your timeline posts completely, watch what you write on Facebook or delete your Facebook account completely if you want to be safe from internet privacy infringements.

See what the Guardian wrote on this issue


Because Facebook and Twitter posts are in the public domain, the ability to regulate it and to put it under surveillance is reduced. Morever, governments have access to some “private” data which scares many users.

Facebook allows automatic information sharing that users are not aware of. Timeline, a feature that maps everything a user has ever done on Facebook and Open Graph, an application designed “to broadcast a user’s surfing patterns and Web interests to friends and friends of friends.” There is a loss of user control combined with a lack of ability for consumers to control and protect their online reputations.

Laura Antonini, research attorney at Consumer Watchdog, says Facebook’s new sharing features “disregard the privacy of its users by making sweeping changes that expose personal information without giving users the chance to choose what information they want shared with the world.”

Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes counters that Timeline and new Open Graph applications are” intended to make it easier for users to share music and other content with their friends.” He explains that Facebook uses tracking-cookie technology to monitor and correlate users’ Web activities, just as Google and other online ad networks and analytics firms commonly do. He says Facebook does so responsibly. Noyes declared “we offer numerous controls both before and after the fact” […] “all the sharing is opt-in and easily controllable.”

Mike Murray, managing partner of MAD Security, Facebook will not stop using this policy and may worsen. “The settings that are default today may not be in the future,” says Murray. “What we’ve seen from Facebook over the years is a constant, creeping advance in the amount of tracking that is done.”

Facebook has also raised fresh security concerns. New mechanisms to encourage the sharing of educational information, career and health have been promoted on Facebook.


Issues related to Internet privacy have become increasingly important. Netizens (or citizens or the net) are less anonymous than they think while surfing on Internet, blogging or even sharing images with their friends on Facebook.

A study made by the Montreal Gazette highlights these privacy violations. It shows how most high-traffic websites such as Google, Facebook, comScore and Quantcast looked at in the study, share the netizen’s username and user ID with other sites.

Jon Leibowitz,in a speech “Consumer Privacy, the FTC, and the Rise of the Cyberazzi” given in Washington, D.C. October 11, 2011, the U.S Federal Trade Commission chairman declared that this study would help the protection of netizens and their privacy on the Internet. He liked behavioral advertising and date collection to paparazzi “cyberazzi.”

The study’s author, Jonathan Mayer, a graduate Stanford student, noted that 61% of the websites he interacted used information leakage (username and ID.)

“Many times, developers are not thinking about privacy issues, and it’s a fact of life that information is going to leak to third parties. I think we have to recognize that’s just the way the web works,” said Mayer.

Mayer created accounts for sites and then tracked where the information went. On the Photobucket, a photo sharing databank, his study found that a username was sent to 31 other websites. Asked how consumers could avoid such data leakage, Mayer said, “The best thing they can do is to block advertising, because the moment content is loaded on the browser, there is a risk of tracking.”

“The study found that signing up on the NBC website shared a user’s e-mail address with seven other companies, while viewing a local ad on the Home Depot website sent a user’s name and e-mail address to 13 companies. Leibowitz applauded Microsoft Corp, Mozilla and Apple for adding “do not track” features to their browsers and said he hoped Google would soon follow suit. He added the FTC had no intention of ending behavioural advertising, but was advocating giving consumers streamlined and effective choices about the collection and use of their data.”