the facebook private message fiasco - how to report evidence it's happening

Well . .. . last week I posted about the rumor that private messages were showing up on people’s facebook walls, and I was not expecting the response I got. A number of people came by to scold me – to point out the snopes article or the facebook public statement saying that this was a hoax. I even got an email from facebook telling me as much. But at the same time, over half of the responses were from people who found what they are convinced were private messages hanging around on their wall. There were comments about infidelities, surprise parties, phone numbers, and all manner of private information showing up on people’s walls unexpectedly. Now, it’s possible we are all having some form of mass delusion and memory loss . . . but I was overwhelmed by the number of people who felt certain that the messages on their wall were meant to be private.

This is what I do know: in 2010, I knew how to operate facebook. I knew my online boundaries. So many of the comments were accusing people of just failing to remember how facebook “used to be” way back in 2010. Well, I do remember. As a blogger, I had a number of facebook friends I don’t know in real life, even two years ago. There were certain things I NEVER discussed publicly, and certain conversations I distinctly remember having via DM and not as a wall-to-wall. (And FYI – I have direct messages as far back as 2008 so it wasn’t lack of experience). I know several other internet-savvy women who are saying the same thing.

Of course, there is the pesky issue of proof, and that’s what I’m interested in looking at. I can’t prove that these used to be DM’s. I don’t keep my message notifications in my email folder, and most people are reporting that the DM’s in question have been moved from the inbox to their wall, so there is nothing in the inbox to point to as evidence. What I would love to see happen, then, is some kind of public documentation of these alleged private-turned-public interchanges.

I’ve created a place to do just that. So many people reported having this experience, and I thought it would be a good exercise to pool some screenshots in one place. So please – if you have had the experience of a private message going public. TAKE A SCREEN SHOT OF IT. Then blur out any identifying information and submit it here. If you have friends you know were effected, ask them to do the same. This is a completely anonymous submission process. You can use a fake email address if you like. You don’t have to log in. You just need to upload a photo (and if you like, provide some context about why you are sure this was a private message).

Also - something for everyone to note. The fix that I posted apparently was not a full fix. It pulled the messages from appearing in a consolidated box, but if something were to scroll down your wall, they would still show you. You need to manually delete any posts of concern.  Before you do, take a screenshot of it.

And please, folks. Let’s keep it civil. There is no need to dismiss others because you haven’t had the same experience, or to shame people because they don’t view Snopes as the final authority on all matters. I love facebook – I’m an avid user. But I am concerned that so many people are experiencing the same thing, and if we can, I’d love to document that it’s happening.

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