I’ve been examining this question a lot this week.
It all started on Monday, when I read an article on TechCrunch with a rather disturbing headline: “Facebook Users Report Seeing Old Private Messages Showing Up On Timelines As ‘Posted By Friends’”. (TechCrunch has since updated the article and changed the headline.)
I immediately posted this news to my Facebook Page and personal Profile, and the response was overwhelming.
I received texts, phone calls and Facebook messages from family members, friends and clients who were extremely concerned that their private messages were showing up on their Timeline.
They have every right to be concerned. Since the proliferation of Facebook into the mainstream, users have been assured that there is a way to send something privately on Facebook – private messages.
We were told that private messages were like emails – for the recipients’ eyes only!
TechCrunch, in their updated post, investigated these claims, and they found “no evidence that the allegedly exposed posts were actually private messages.”
TechCrunch’s Facebook specialist found “email receipts show allegedly exposed messages were in fact Wall posts, and the posts do not appear in users’ Facebook Messages inbox.” Phew!
Facebook also backs up this claim in this official statement:
“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.]”
So basically Facebook is saying: “Guess what? All those messages you sent that you thought were private? Well, they’ve actually been public for 5 years because you didn’t know how to use Facebook properly and/or we kept changing the privacy settings so that you couldn’t figure it out. Sorry.”
If you are still concerned about these posts and want to hide them, follow these instructions: Go to the top of your Timeline. Next to your Cover photo, click on the year you want to visit (start with 2009). Look at the top right of the Friends box, click on the pencil, and click on Hide from Timeline.
So no, I’m not deleting my Facebook account. Not yet anyway.
What do you think – would this make you delete and deactivate your Facebook account? Why or why not? Please leave your thoughts in the Comments section or on my Facebook page. Thanks for reading!