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Facebook Timeline

5 October 2012

Statement from Australian Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim

Our Office has asked Facebook questions about the claims that private messages have been appearing on peoples’ Timelines.  In response Facebook have advised that these messages are older wall posts that have always been visible in users’ profiles rather than private messages. At this time we have not found or received evidence that private messages have been published, nevertheless, the office will continue to monitor this matter. However, if individuals believe that they have evidence that demonstrates that private messages are appearing on their Timeline they should provide this to Facebook and ask them to explain why this has occurred.  If they are not satisfied with the response then they can make a complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

It is important for people to always keep in mind that when they share personal information on social networking sites they are building a digital identity. People should also be thoughtful about what they are posting online and limit the amount of personal information they are sharing. It is not clear how information that is being posted today will be used or presented in the future.