It appears that rumors saying that Facebook has made private messages of millions of users’ public is just that – a rumor. The alleged privacy issue began with reports from the French newspaper Metro, and it spread like wildfire from there, and it wasn’t long before Facebook and the Twitter-sphere were abuzz with the rumor.
While we love to be the first to blow the lid on Facebook’s complete lack of concern for the privacy of their users, it appears that the public messages are actually old wall posts, and if they are public now, they’ve been public the whole time.
Facebook told TechCrunch Facebook specialist Josh Constine, “Every report we’ve seen, we’ve gone back and checked. We haven’t seen one report that’s been confirmed [of a private message being exposed]. A lot of the confusion is because before 2009 there were no likes and no comments on wall posts. People went back and forth with wall posts instead of having a conversation [in the comments of single wall post].”
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Indeed, it seems that the posts that are public appear to be from years 2007-2009, and users tend to be much more savvy about locking down private messages nowadays.
To ensure that the random user cannot see your old posts:
Click the account menu at the top right of any Facebook page and choose “Privacy Settings”
Scroll down the page to “Limit the Audience for Past Posts”
Click on “Manage Past Post Visibility”
From there you can set your privacy settings to whatever you like. And as always, regardless of your privacy settings, never put anything on Facebook that you wouldn’t want anyone to see. You just never know when an unwitting Facebook staffer may accidentally switch that “privacy” switch to, “Let the whole world see everything.”
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