Facebook denies any problems with security and says any old data that appeared on timelines did not come from private messages.
Metro newspaper reported that a “non-systemic” problem at Facebook had caused certain personal messages, some several years old, to be displayed on people’s public timelines.
Facebook, however, denied any problems with its security systems and said any old data that may have appeared on timelines did not come from users’ private messages.
“A minority of users were worried after seeing messages they thought to be private appearing on their timelines,” a spokesman for Facebook France said.
“Facebook engineers examined the situation and confirmed that the messages in question were old postings, which had previously been visible on the users’ profiles.”
Industry minister Arnaud Montebourg and small businesses minister Fleur Pellerin said they were looking for “clear and transparent explanations” from Facebook.
“Facebook management is unable to give us any explanation of what happened,” Ms Pellerin said on i-Tele television.
“Today complete confusion reigns and Facebook’s explanations are not very convincing.
“If there is ever any real certainty that private messages were made public and that there was a breach of confidentiality … I would advise people to file a complaint. This is unacceptable.”
Concern about the situation spread quickly on Twitter following Metro’s claim that messages from 2007, 2008, or 2009 were being posted for public viewing.
Facebook’s troubles in France came as the company’s share price took another hit, falling 8.9% on Monday after financial magazine Barron’s said it was “still too pricey” despite a sharp decline since its initial public offering.