French officials are probing into allegations of a massive Facebook privacy blunder. The move comes after some users complained that some private chat messages had be made visible on their public profiles.
The French government on Tuesday confirmed that it had summoned managers of the social networking site Facebook to explain rumors that some of their users' old private messages had appeared publicly on the site.
"Clear and transparent explanations must be given without delay," Industrial Renewal Minister Arnaud Montebourg and the junior digital economy minister, Fleur Pellerin, said in a joint statement.
Facebook has denied the rumors and insists that, following an investigation, they had discovered that the messages in question, written between 2007 and 2009, had always been public.
"A minority of Facebook users were worried on seeing messages they believed to be private on show on their timeline," said a spokesperson for Facebook in France.
"Our engineers investigated these reports and found that the messages in question were older wall posts, previously visible on the users' profiles. Facebook asserts that there are no security flaws with regards to the security of users' data," they added.
Rumors about the potential Facebook blunder exploded online via Twitter on Monday, following the publication of a story in the French daily Metro. According to the Metro article, a “non-systematic” bug had made messages dating back several years visible. Both private messages between users and conversations on Facebook chat were affected, according to the article.
sej/pfd (Reuters, AFP)