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Facebook Chat Flaw Exposes Other People's Conversations

TechCrunch was recently tipped off to a serious security flaw in Facebook that was allowing anyone to view the recent chats of their friends, and to look at their pending friend requests. The hole required no hacking or advanced knowledge to exploit; users simply had to use the 'Preview My Profile' feature in their privacy settings. 'Preview My Profile' lets users view their own profiles from the viewpoints of others, ostensibly a way of helping users to fine-tune their own privacy settings.

The irony of a privacy protection feature being used to actually violate the privacy of someone else is delicious, but seriously worrisome. Facebook is quickly taking the place of Microsoft as the poster boy for security failings. Check out the video below, and see just how simple it was to access another person's personal interactions. To Facebook's credit, it disabled the problematic 'feature' the moment it was brought to its attention. After briefly being shut down, Facebook chat is back -- sans privacy-invading flaw.

Even though Facebook quickly fixed the problem, this is just the latest in a string of problems concerning security and privacy at the social network. We've already suggested that you uninstall your Facebook apps, and turn off the instant personalization features. Now we're beginning to wonder: is it time to simply delete your Facebook account? [From: TechCrunch and Facebook]

Tags: facebook, flaw, privacy, security, socialnetworking, top, web