Twitter users have been tweeting about a significant new privacy problem with Facebook’s new “Happening Now” feature, which it has been rolling out to a small number of users. The new feature displays in the right hand a list of real time updates from friends, that shows members interacting with each other. The updates include wall posts, check-in information, and comments.
Three Twitter users explained to ZDNet’s Zack Whittaker that it is sometimes possible for one Facebook user to view the pictures of another even if that person is not in their Friend’s list, and their privacy options are set to display photos to friends only. “Say a user’s photos are viewable to friends only, and this user is not in my friends list. If a friend of mine comments on the photo of that user, I can see it from the ‘Happening Now’ feed.”
Facebook spokesperson Jaime Schopflin initially said that there is no bug and “this is how photos work” bit Facebook later reported to another media outlet that it is testing the “Happening Now” feature to a select number of users amounting to a fraction of a percent of Facebook members, and that it will continue making improvements as it learns from the test.
Facebook users who wish limit the effect of the privacy bug should to change their permissions to “Friends only”.