France summons Facebook over private messages rumour

Sep 25, 2012
The French government has summoned Facebook managers to explain rumours that some users' old private messages were being posted publicly on the social network.

The French government on Tuesday summoned Facebook managers to explain rumours that some users' privacy had been breached with private messages posted publicly on the social network.

Facebook denied the rumours that personal messages were appearing on the users' "Timelines" which can be accessed by a large Internet audience.

But a French minister said doubt remained and urged users to file complaints if they felt their privacy had been violated.

In a joint statement, Industrial Renewal Minister Arnaud Montebourg and the junior minister for the digital economy, Fleur Pellerin, said Facebook managers had been summoned before France's CNIL data watchdog to explain the rumours.

"Clear and transparent explanations must be given without delay," they said.

"This incident underlines once again the importance of protecting personal data in the digital world and the lack of transparency in handling them."

A meeting between Facebook managers and CNIL officials began at lunch-time and was still underway, CNIL head Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin said.

Facebook on Monday said it had investigated complaints from members and denied the reports of private messages being made public.

"A small number of users raised concerns after what they mistakenly believed to be private messages appeared on their Timeline," the California-based social network said in an email response to an AFP inquiry.

"Our engineers investigated these reports and found that the messages were older wall posts that had always been visible on the users' profile pages."

Concerns that private Facebook messages from 2007, 2008, or 2009 were being posted for public viewing spread wildly on Twitter Monday after a story first appeared in the free French daily Metro.

"Facebook management is unable to give us any explanation of what happened," Pellerin said on i-Tele television. "Today complete confusion reigns and Facebook's explanations are not very convincing."

"If there is ever any real certainty that private messages were made public and that there was a breach of confidentiality... I would advise people to file a complaint. This is unacceptable," she said.

A Facebook user said two private messages had cropped up on her Timeline among many other public ones wishing her a happy birthday.

"One of them was from a colleague on maternity leave ... and the other was from a friend, a very private message about her boyfriend who had ditched her," she told AFP.

Facebook has about 26 million users in France.

Explore further: Brazil passes trailblazing Internet privacy law

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Facebook glitch exposes chat messages (Update 2)

May 05, 2010

Facebook on Wednesday temporarily shut down its online chat feature after a software glitch let people's friends in the online community see each others' private chat messages.

Facebook draws user ire with email switcheroo

Jun 26, 2012

(AP) — In yet another change that upset users, Facebook has replaced the email addresses users chose to display on their profile pages with (at)facebook.com addresses.

Facebook letting bigwigs fire updates to Twitter

Aug 21, 2009

Facebook on Friday said it is letting celebrities, businesses and others with public pages at the social-networking hotspot instantly turn status updates into tweets at Twitter.

Beluga gives way to Facebook Messenger

Oct 29, 2011

Facebook is ushering out freshly acquired Beluga text messaging service to clear the way for a replacement tailored for the social network.

Facebook tests real-time update feature

Jun 11, 2011

Facebook on Friday said it is dabbling with a Twitter-like feature that alerts members in real time to what their friends are up to on the social network.

Recommended for you

Brazil passes trailblazing Internet privacy law

11 hours ago

Brazil's Congress on Tuesday passed comprehensive legislation on Internet privacy in what some have likened to a web-user's bill of rights, after stunning revelations its own president was targeted by US ...

Research shows impact of Facebook unfriending

Apr 22, 2014

Two studies from the University of Colorado Denver are shedding new light on the most common type of `friend' to be unfriended on Facebook and their emotional responses to it.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

cigs4girls_net
1 / 5 (1) Sep 25, 2012
Interesting post. I have a Facebook account too. I like Facebook social site ;)

More news stories

Amazon Prime wins streaming deal with HBO

Amazon scored a deal Wednesday to distribute old shows from premium cable TV channel HBO to its monthly Prime subscribers, landing a blow on rival Netflix in the streaming video battle.

Is nuclear power the only way to avoid geoengineering?

"I think one can argue that if we were to follow a strong nuclear energy pathway—as well as doing everything else that we can—then we can solve the climate problem without doing geoengineering." So says Tom Wigley, one ...

Robot scouts rooms people can't enter

(Phys.org) —Firefighters, police officers and military personnel are often required to enter rooms with little information about what dangers might lie behind the door. A group of engineering students at ...

Cyber buddy is better than 'no buddy'

A Michigan State University researcher is looking to give exercise enthusiasts the extra nudge they need during a workout, and her latest research shows that a cyber buddy can help.