Facebook just made your old private messages public – or did it?

The latest scandal to hit Facebook is from users reporting that old private messages (circa 2007-2008) have now been made public on their timeline.

Facebook is denying this, saying they aren’t private messages at all, just old wall posts.

Despite Facebook engineers knowing what they are talking about with their own software (or do they?), users ‘saw it with their own eyes’ so it must be a privacy breach.

Let’s back the truck up for a minute and find some evidence. Remember that? Facts that may help explain what has actually happened and an prove or disprove a theory?

So I checked out my own timeline and this is what I saw – shock, horror, a list of ‘messages’!


But hang on a minute – if I scroll down further, these actually appear as wall posts as well:


Now, if I actually go into my Private Messages for the same time period? Well, none of those on my ‘wall’ are in my Private Messages. And private messages that are there from around the same time period have not mysteriously appeared on my wall:


But hey, if you can actually show me some evidence where ALL of your private messages from that period are on your wall, then go for it.

Remember, we didn’t have a timeline in 2007.

I’m fairly certain that the messages I’ve shown you on my timeline were never sent as actual private messages and there has been no privacy breach. But I don’t work for Facebook and I can’t prove what’s happened here. I also don’t have access to your account so maybe I just have to take your word for it if you are really, really sure that some of your messages have magically transferred themseves out of your Inbox and onto your wall.  And if Facebook spends some more time investigating and proves, with evidence, that there really is a problem, I’ll accept it. But for now, based on the evidence I can see in my own profile, I’m really not worried.



Hands up if you need a Smartphone Pledge!

Over the last few days, a few articles have come my way (including one I wrote myself) about smartphone addiction and the impact of our ‘always connected’ society. My favourite so far has been this fromm Joe Kraus at Google Ventures: http://joekraus.com/were-creating-a-culture-of-distraction

Hi, my name is Sonia and I’m addicted to my smartphone. Except it’s not my phone itself per se, it’s that feeling of knowing what is going on right now and what my internet friends are talking about. I’ve reverted to my teenage self and I don’t want to miss out, on anything, even for an hour.

The problem is that I am missing out. I’m missing out on the present. And yes, as new agey as it sounds, with the background of all of those talks that tell us to ‘truly be in the moment’, I’m missing out on what is going on in front of me. That’s kind of important when you have a family.

Don’t get me wrong – I still love to reach for my phone to look up the opening hours of a store or find a recipe or check if a TV program is on tonight. But I don’t need to constantly check it to see who’s posted what on Facebook and Twitter.

So I think someone needs to start up a website with a Smartphone Pledge. You could then sign this ‘contract’ and commit to it for a certain period of time (start with one day if you are seriously addicted, or one week, one month, or even until further notice?).

I’ll start with a few Pledge condition ideas:

– I pledge to not check my Smartphone before I’ve had a shower and eaten breakfast.

– I pledge to not have my Smartphone within reach during mealtimes.

– I pledge to go to the bathroom without my Smartphone.

– I pledge to not have my Smartphone when I am a passenger in a vehicle.

Is this all a bit much? Are we going to far here, or not far enough?

Today I discovered that my parents do not have email on their iPhone. It’s distracting. If somebody wants them urgently, they’ll call them or SMS. They don’t feel it’s necessary to check out what their friends are doing today or to share their day online. I don’t think that our teenagers or most Gen Xers even could cope with that.

We are the generations that have embraced technology. I know and share with a great bunch of people online that I would never have met in real life and I feel richer for it. But now I have another thing to add to my juggling act of balancing my life, to ensure I’m truly present for my kids and to show them have to squeeze the joy out of the present moment. If I don’t, they’ll grow up glued to their phones too. So you see, there is a lot at stake here.

Pass me that pledge to sign, please.


P.S. If it’s the ‘meal out with friends’ that sees all of the smartphones in hand, check out the Phone Stacking game http://www.news.com.au/technology/smartphones/phone-stacking-game-to-get-friends-off-mobiles-at-meal-time/story-fn6vihic-1226247534506

It’s not you, it’s your content

Today, my twitter account @CTAspley was unfollowed. Publicly.
The person who unfollowed me sent a tweet that mentioned my name, and said as I’d unfollowed them first, they would reciprocate. Boo hoo.

The impact of this is that I became aware of the unfollowing, and anyone that they follow also saw that I’d unfollowed that person. After that sentence, do you still follow me? If you use twitter, that probably made sense.

Does this put a black mark against my name in the twitter world as someone who unfollows? Do I care?

Here’s the thing. I unfollow people. I currently follow over 1,000 people and I just can’t handle that amount of information on a constant basis. I’ve decided to do a bit of a cull.

If I unfollow you, please don’t take it personally. I tend to follow most of my new followers, unless they are a) blatantly spam bots b) tweet content that is repetitive c) tweet to sell services or products not applicable to me/my country or d) tweet how to make money or gain new followers easily. If you pass those tests, I’ll generally follow you for a while to see what your content is like.

In the future, I may unfollow you, usually for one of the same reasons above. It’s not because I don’t Ike you. It’s usually because your content topics are not relevant to me OR you haven’t engaged me in an actual conversation. Some people that I follow are not in my industry or market segment and do not have children. But if I’ve mentioned that it’s been a tough week, they’ll message me and agree and wish me a better weekend. Also, some people who’s content I am interested in, don’t follow me back. Thats ok too. I don’t want to miss out on what they have to say.

If I unfollow you, please don’t take it personally. It just didn’t work out. Is everyone in the real world your friend too? To publicize an unfollow just reeks of sour grapes. I don’t do #teamfollowback, I just don’t see the point. for me, twitter is about content, not numbers.

Similarly, if you unfollow me, that’s ok. I can handle it. I’m a big girl. Not everyone in the real world wants to be my friend either. Not everyone wants to hear about technology, small business, working from home & wrangling small children. I get that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, and I’m alright with that.

The story ended with a handshake and best wishes. I told the person in question that their topics weren’t relevant to me and I wished them well for the future. They respected my option to unfollow and likewise wished me well. No animosity at all, just like it should be. So I’m still left wondering as to what the point of their tweet was.

Twitter. It’s a strange old follow/unfollow world.