Facebook Pulls Chat To Fix Another Privacy Hole

Martin Brinkmann
May 6, 2010
Updated • Dec 10, 2012

Facebook feels like privacy hell. Not a single week goes by without reports of new privacy problems on the popular social networking site. The latest was published on Techcrunch Europe just yesterday. It apparently allowed anyone to view their friend's live chats and take a look at their friend requests and friends.

It is ironic that Facebook's privacy preview feature was used to access the chat and private information of other Facebook users.

All it apparently took to view the live chat for instance was to enter the friend's name in the "Preview how your profile appears to a specific person:" field to access it. That's almost to good to be true.

Facebook's first response was to pull live chat from the site with the promise to bring it back when the privacy hole has been fixed.

For a limited period of time, a bug permitted some users' chat messages and pending friend requests to be made visible to their friends by manipulating the "preview my profile" feature of Facebook privacy settings. When we received reports of the problem, our engineers promptly diagnosed it and temporarily disabled the chat function. We also pushed out a fix to take care of the visible friend requests which is now complete. Chat will be turned back on across the site shortly. We worked quickly to resolve this matter, ensuring that once the bug was reported to us, a solution was quickly found and implemented.

Both privacy problems seem to have been fixed by now. Chat is available again on Facebook. Will this be the last privacy hole on Facebook? That's highly unlikely. What's your take on the story?


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  1. Crodol said on May 7, 2010 at 4:26 am
  2. Jack said on May 6, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Just another demonstration that social networking sites are a desperately sad way to live your life. For heaven’s sake people, switch off the PC, get a dog and go for a walk. You might even meet some real people out there.

    1. Evan said on May 7, 2010 at 6:52 am

      No, this is another demonstration of how PUBLIC you actually are on Social Networking sites like Facebook. Switch on the PC, login to Digg, and go for a surf. You may actually learn something on the nets.

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