Mondays are always such busy days aren’t they? My Monday today was no exception, it’s been crazy busy with lots and lots of things to do. No problem, I was running on a big dose of vitamins and caffeine so I was fuelled for the busy day.
And then mid-Monday I started reading that Facebook was publishing private messages to public timelines.
What the what? Facebook you just farked up my Monday. This was not part of the schedule.
Supposedly some Facebook users in France and the US have seen private messages from 2008 and 2009 show up on viewable timelines. A spokesman from Facebook has said that this is not the case, and aside from one incident that they know of, they are satisfied that there has not been a breach of user privacy.
This is where it gets a bit confusing. Prior to 2008, there was no way to "like" or "comment" on a friend’s wall post, so instead Facebook friends would just post back and forth on each other’s walls. Kind of like how private messages happen now. So the question now with this info is whether the messages being seen are in fact private messages or just wall posts between friends.
I’m tending to lean towards the idea that it's back-and-forth wall posts. I vaguely remember those days of writing on each other’s walls—it seems like an eternity ago now but it is how commenting on FB used to be done.
Regardless of whether this is a security hiccup with Facebook or not, this news today is another good reminder that everyone should periodically check their Facebook security settings and change their passwords. Take a few minutes to go through all of those old private Facebook messages and if they’re no longer of any use to you, delete them.
When was the last time you checked what apps have access to your Facebook profile? You know, those apps that you’ve given permission to post on your behalf—do they really need to? Go through them now and if you don’t use them or remember what they are, revoke access now. You might be surprised to find out how many apps you've given permission to access your information on Facebook.
Facebook has gone through a lot of changes in a very short time & things are organized very differently from how they appeared to you before. Here are the key areas you should check from time to time:
Nowadays anything can be hacked or screwed up and you should never assume that anything you do on the internet is “private.” If you’re writing or posting something that is personal or private, keep in mind that one day it might come out and suddenly be public.
It might be a few days or a few years but the point is, it might happen.
Cover your butt before it does.
The very clever gang at Kitestring Creative posted a video tonight explaining a very quick & easy way to make sure messages are hidden from your timeline. Check it out - it's super easy and a great way to make your posts are kept private - whether they're on your wall or a personal message.