Me and all my friends Facebook accounts this week seem to have a huge breach of privacy. Sidelined on everybody's timeline is a strip with year/month navigation. Clicking on a year jumps to the top of that stream. Highlighted here is a box saying "NNN friends posted on XYZ's timeline." and proceeds to list them.

At first glance, this looks like wall posts, but digging in to older years it looks like huge numbers of private messages are now showing up there in well. In fact there is a series of warnings being forwarded chain letter style in my friends status updates about this privacy breach.

I've seen several news articles saying that these are not actually private messages but only wall posts. Looking through my own and my friends walls, this seems preposterous, there are huge numbers of messages that would certainly have been private.

Why did these private messages start showing in my timeline and how can I remove them? Is there a way to do it without also removing all normal wall posts from my timeline?

  • Check this TechCrunch post.
    – Alex
    Sep 28, 2012 at 10:28
  • @Alex: That was one of the articles I read. The story still doesn't quite add up. I'm comparing walls between myself and a friend where we were clearly wall-posting back and forth about a topic. I see messages on other persons wall from a third party that they were obviously talking to that were clearly private notes about the public conversion I was having. I clearly couldn't see that on their wall at the time, it would have been a private message. Why am i seeing it now? There is more to this story....
    – Caleb
    Sep 28, 2012 at 10:32
  • 2
    There is no more to story. There are indeed wall-to-wall posts. Messages are held in a different storage section than wall posts. This just comes down to a change in perception of what was regarded as more private now than then. The posts were always public. Going into conspiracy theories arguing against a statement that was made publicly by Facebook doesn't seem constructive at the least.
    – phwd
    Sep 29, 2012 at 20:22
  • @phwd Then make that your answer. I'm actually not the conspiracy theorist here, I spent a lot of time explaining this to people and wanted something to point them to that would be definitive and give some technical details on the usage change and explain how they can clean up. How is that not constructive?
    – Caleb
    Sep 29, 2012 at 20:41

1 Answer 1


Just get people to go to their messages and see if the offending comments showing in their timeline show up there. I can guarantee they won't. Because they now have timeline they can't go back and check their old wall posts so they assume the things they posted must have been private messages but they weren't. People used to post back and forth between their walls all the time before Facebook messaging became more widely adopted.

Anyway, as I said easiest way to check is to actually look through their messages. I did just that and none of them are appearing on my timeline.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.