French watchdog group: Facebook didn’t breach users’ privacy
France’s data watchdog said Tuesday that Facebook users’ privacy had not been breached, a week after summoning officials from the social networking site over rumours that private messages were being posted publicly.
The CNIL said it was “satisfied that there was no bug or technical glitch that made public the private messages or personal information of Facebook users.”
The French government last Tuesday summoned Facebook managers to explain rumours that some users’ privacy had been violated.
Facebook, which had then denied that such messages were appearing on users’ “Timelines”, which can be accessed by a large Internet audience, said it had been vindicated.
CNIL said the rumours may have stemmed from the fact that some users had sent public “Wall-to-Wall” messages mistakenly thinking they were private ones.
Concerns that private Facebook messages from 2007, 2008 or 2009 were being posted for public viewing spread wildly on Twitter last Monday after a story first appeared in the free French daily Metro.
But experts rubbished the claim.
“The 9/11 of private life has not happened,” said Vincent Glad from Slate.fr, the French incarnation of the US-based online current affairs and culture magazine.
Glad said a similar rumour circulated in Finland last year.
US technology news website Techcrunch said: “We have found no evidence that the allegedly exposed posts were actually private messages. Our Facebook specialist… found that email receipts show allegedly exposed messages were in fact Wall posts, and the posts do not appear in users’ Facebook Messages inbox.”