If you use popular social content creation site Storify your Private Facebook posts likely aren’t so private. AGBeat’s Lani Rosales uncovered a serious privacy issue around Facebook posts published to the site by Storify. Using the Storify app or embed code users can see posts (public or private) that have been published to Storify.
To test the theory Rosales joined a secret group around health issues and added a post using Storify. Due to Facebook’s privacy setting any Facebook friends could not see the post, or the group. However, when the Storify embed code was used, the private post showed up alongside with her name and picture within Storify. The embed code then allows users who’ve seen the post with Storify to share publicly. Essentially Storify has been bypassing Facebook privacy settings for private posts if they’ve been shared as a story.
Storify did follow up with a blog post in which they stated that nothing published in a story would be made public and that “Storify users to NOT have access to content on the web that they couldn’t otherwise see themselves.” Storify also stated that by using the Storify app “you can indeed collect text, photos and video from all around the web, including what is visible to you on Facebook. That media may not have been intended for a wider audience, but it’s up to you if you want to publish it more widely. This is something you could do using Storify, but also by copy and pasting the text or simply taking a screenshot.”
Storify went event on to imply that nothing is really private on Facebook:
We believe strongly in freedom of expression and democratization of media in the Internet age. Anyone can now easily and cheaply publish to the web and reach a global audience. That also means each of us with this power must consider how we use it.
On the other side, we also all must realize that everything we post that is viewable by someone else can be easily shared more widely. So you should always think about what you post — especially on Facebook when using your real name.
Storify Co-Founder Burt Herman also commented on the AGBeat piece and called it more of a etiquette issue (like Randi Zuckerberg has last month) than a privacy issue:
This isn’t a technology issue as much as an etiquette issue. Now that everyone has the power to easily publish to the whole world, we all need to think about how to use that power.
Again this is yet another reminder to be careful of private content posted socially. For more information see AGBeat.