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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags privacyinternetFacebooksocial networkingInternet-based applications and services

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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?