A girl walks into a bar. She’s quite a successful and ‘famous by association’ kind of girl. She used to write for a gossip column in a national and now she freelances and she’s doing just fine thank you very much.
She walks into the bar and she shouts, nay screams, at the top of her voice ‘hey everybody, want to know about the intimate details of the relationships I was in and out of in 2008? Let me tell you in every single gory detail!’
Never gonna happen, right?
Except right now, there is a girl, who could be said to fit this profile, wandering around Facebook and finding out that essentially, this evening, she might as well have. Because Facebook, in what can only be described as a fail whale so big the entire ocean is empty right now, have published every single private inbox message she has ever sent to her timeline.
But it’s okay, she’s deleted them all.
Except, wait, no. Because the replies to all those relationship related messages are all on other peoples timelines now – the people she sent the messages to. And they’re nowhere near a computer cos it’s commute home time and they’ve probably got their head buried in a pint or a newspaper.
So the potentially intimate details of all her relationships from 2008 are stuck there, for all her friends to see.
Unless, of course, they’ve not locked their privacy down because all the embarrassing stuff is kept to private inbox messages. Then the whole world can see it.
Bit of a reputational disaster really and she’s done nothing wrong except to forget one crucial bit of comprehension.
Facebook own you. And you didn’t pay them a penny. And there is nothing you can do to undo this mess, nothing you can do to get your reputation back if it is destroyed, nothing you can do to make those messages that should never be seen become unseen. There is no apology that can make this better and no court case which will fix.
Be more damn careful with your data and understand that data doesn’t just mean numbers. It means you. Your loves, your lives, your heartaches. All of you
Edited 19:43 – Facebook deny rumours of breach of privacy