Facebook representatives have been asked to appear before and respond to The National Committee For Information Technology And Liberty (CNIL), the French Data Protection Agency, over user complaints that Facebook has published as publicly viewable posts on their pages, old private messages in the process of rolling out the new Facebook Timeline feature there last Monday.
A bug has been blamed for users seeing their private messages posted on their timelines, however Facebook vehemently denies this, it’s Engineers claiming that the messages they have reported seeing on their Facebook walls or profiles were actually old wall posts by users. The alleged private messages subject of the complaint are said to date from between 2007 and 2009.
Facebook claim that private messages and wall posts are held in separate databases and it is not technically possible for the databases to bleed into each other.
Affected users are being encouraged to file complaints against Facebook if they could prove a violation of their privacy.
Facebook executives have said that Facebook faced similar complaints in 2011, explaining that Facebook’s functionality was very different in 2007, when there was either no comments feature or like button. Wall posts were used more often and Facebook claim that some users may have used wall posts instead of private messages by mistake to respond to their friends’ walls, forging an impression that a private conversation was taking place between users.