Facebook privacy problem – some details and a video

Facebook appears to have fixed the problem with their site which meant it was sharing members’ birthdates even if they had set their privacy settings to hide the information from everyone.

In tests I conducted this morning it was no longer possible to view other people’s dates of birth unless they had given explicit permission to share the information. Of course, why anyone would want to publish their birthday on Facebook is beyond me (shouldn’t your friends know when your birthday is?), but that’s for another discussion.

Update 16 July 2008:

I’ve posted some details of the specifics of what was going on on Facebook’s site on the SophosLabs blog. You can also view the video I made on Monday night demonstrating that it really was child’s play to look up other people’s private information.

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[vimeo 2601130]

You can read more about this issue in this advisory we have published on our website: “Facebook privacy breach exposed users’ hidden dates of birth”.


Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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