Facebook Flub Leaks Private E-mail Addresses

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Private e-mail addresses that many Facebook users wanted to keep hidden were revealed publicly last night on a multitude of Facebook profiles, Gawker reports. The glitch lasted about 30 minutes before Facebook sealed the gap.

An anonymous tipster altered Gawker of the breach in an expletive-riddled message: "6:46PM: I cannot [bleeping] believe it. Everybody's email has been turned on to the public for at least the past 30 min. I tried going into my account to remove my email b/c I have an issue with a crazed stalker. But I wasn't able to. God I [bleeping] hate FB!! When will they ever learn?!"

It might be that Facebook's recently proposed changes to its privacy settings could be to blame for the hiccup. PC World writer Paul Suarez reported that "One of those changes [to Facebook's Privacy Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities] would make it possible for Facebook to send your name, photo, friend list, and any public information about you and your friends to preapproved third-party Web sites." A slight tweak to broadcasting profile information could have resulted in this embarrassing flub.

Facebook desperately wants to be known as a site where users can expect a reasonable amount of privacy, but sometimes this isn't the case. Briefings of previous mistakes make it clear that Facebook has a lot of work to do, possibly at the risk of tarnishing its original smiles and hugs philosophy. Thankfully this most recent trip-up only lasted approximately 30 minutes; any longer would have spelled disaster.

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