Updated. Some Facebook users are seeing private messages written in 2009 and earlier showing up on viewable Timelines as messages “Posted by friends.”
We first heard reports of this through emails this morning from readers. Personally, I am seeing the issue — I am currently seeing what appear to have been private messages on friends’ Timelines. My own Timeline also now is showing pre-2009 direct messages. Not all users, however, are seeing the bug.
The issue appears to be showing up both here in the United States as well as internationally. Reports of this have been been published in French newspapers such as Le Monde, Le Matin and Metro France.
This is just breaking, so this post will be updated as more information becomes available.
Update: A Facebook spokesperson responded via email with the following message:
“A small number of users raised concerns after what they mistakenly believed to be private messages appeared on their Timeline. Our engineers investigated these reports and found that the messages were older wall posts that had always been visible on the users’ profile pages. Facebook is satisfied that there has been no breach of user privacy.”
This doesn’t seem to be quite satisfactory to me, since I personally continue to see what were direct messages on both my own and my friends’ Timelines. So, I responded to the spokesperson with screenshots of these instances — for example, what appears to be a personal and direct “Happy holidays to you too! Have fun skiing…” note written by Mark Zuckerberg in 2008 that is now showing up on Path founder Dave Morin’s Timeline (I’ve embedded an image of that exchange below.)
Once again, this post will be updated with any feedback we receive.