Facebook in another privacy faux-pas

Darren Allan

May 6, 2010

Facebook has been involved in another privacy slip up.

This time round, a bug in the social networking site caused users to be able to view their friends’ private chats, and also see their pending friend requests.

The exploit was an unintentional side effect of going into your account’s privacy settings, and using the feature which shows you how another Facebook friend will see your profile.

The bug made the friend’s current real-time chat conversations visible on this section of the site, as well.

Which led to a number of embarrassing eavesdropping situations, we’d warrant. Particularly of the husband-wife variety – a website bug has probably never been responsible for so many divorces.

Facebook took the chat system down for a time, while they fixed the issue. It’s now all sorted, so don’t bother logging on to the site hoping to do any spying.

Privacy advocates aren’t impressed, unsurprisingly. The Times quoted Marc Rotenberg, of the Electronic Privacy Information Centre in the US, as saying that this latest faux-pas emphasised the need for increased scrutiny of Facebook.

He commented: “Our view is that the Federal Trade Commission needs to act on consumer concerns about Facebook’s sloppy privacy and security practices.”


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