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Facebook users receive messages intended for others

February 25, 2010 |  1:00 pm

Facebook logo Managing a social network with more than 400 million active users is never easy. But some mistakes are certainly more embarrassing than others.

During a routine "code push," or update, Wednesday, some Facebook users started receiving personal messages from other users that were not intended for them. 

The news first broke on Twitter, where several Facebook users complained that they were receiving dozens of private Facebook messages sent from people they didn't know.

Luckily for Facebook, the glitch apparently wasn't widespread. According to Facebook, it affected a small number of users and was promptly fixed. During the repair, Facebook blocked users who received the messages to limit the spread of private information.

"During our regular code push earlier yesterday evening, a bug caused some misrouting to a small number of users for a short period of time," a company spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail. "Our engineers diagnosed the problem moments after it began and worked diligently to get everything back in its rightful place. While they fixed the issue, affected users were not able to access the site."

Though Facebook quickly addressed the issue, blocking user access and removing the messages wasn't enough to ensure privacy. Every Facebook message is also sent to a respective user's third-party e-mail account. Since Facebook can't retrieve those e-mails, the erroneous messages are still readable in each affected user's in box.

The latest glitch is another in a long line of privacy complaints Facebook has dealt with. Most recently, the company came under fire for allowing a user's friends and profile images to be publicly viewable by default, unless the user changed his or her privacy settings.

-- Don Reisinger

twitter.com/donreisinger

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