Facebook quickly fixes privacy leak in new timeline, group says

The leak allowed 'friends of friends' to see events another person attended

Facebook quickly fixed a privacy leak in its new timeline after being alerted to the problem, according to a watchdog that follows the social-networking site closely.

Europe v. Facebook, an Austrian student organization that has filed complaints in Europe over Facebook's privacy practices, said it found the redesign allowed "friends of friends" to see all of the events a user attended even if the person's privacy settings only permitted their friends to see the events.

"Users were able to look through often times thousands of past events users were invited to, including demonstrations or gay parties," the group said in a media release.

The timeline changes also allowed someone to see batches of event activity under a heading called "events," according to Europe v. Facebook. Details of events attended can be deleted, but it must be done manually, which Europe v. Facebook said could take "hours."

After it was notified, Facebook fixed the problem within a couple of hours by getting rid of the "events" heading, Europe v. Facebook said.

Most users have not seen the new changes to the timeline because Facebook has not upgraded all users to it, Europe v. Facebook said. Facebook announced the changes last Wednesday, which it said would roll out to users over a few weeks.

Facebook officials could not be immediately reached on Sunday.

Europe v. Facebook filed 22 complaints with the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) in August and September 2011 related to Facebook's privacy and data handling practices.

Facebook committed to changing how it retains data and changed some privacy controls following a critical audit by the regulator released in December 2011. Europe v. Facebook, unsatisfied with the changes, has continued to press the DPC for more action.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Internet-based applications and servicessecuritysocial networkinginternetprivacyFacebook

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?