Facebook was forced to disable its live chat service temporarily yesterday, after a security flaw was discovered that put users' privacy at risk. The offending bug allowed users to snoop on their friends' live chat and see the full profiles of pending friend requests.
The issue was first reported by the technology news site TechCrunch who posted a video describing how the privacy bug could be exploited by some users to expose the personal information of other users.
A team of engineers at Facebook began work on the problem immediately. This is not the first time Facebook has received negative publicity in recent weeks: not long ago they were heavily criticised for a lack of appropriate measures to protect users' privacy.
Facebook's former chief of privacy, Chris Kelly, has urged the company to take privacy issues more seriously, and to allow users to select with whom they want to share their information.
The company was also forced into making a statement saying that "People could view friends’ chat messages and friend requests for a limited amount of time if they manipulated the “preview my profile” feature in a specific way. We’ve fixed that issue and took down Chat as soon as we became aware of it. We apologize for the inconvenience."
Surprisingly, more than 5,000 users said that they "liked" the above statement.