Facebook Sends Teen’s Emails to StrangerBy: Lacy Langley - February 11, 2014
Facebook is sometimes a fickle friend, but what if your private messages and notifications were being sent to a complete stranger?
That’s what happened between an American mom and a teenage girl in Mexico, according to Fox News.
Kristal McKenzie said she was taken quite by surprise when she started receiving strange emails from Facebook. In Spanish.
“When I was pregnant with my son, around 2011, I left Facebook and had no account of my own. And then last April or May, on my new e-mail account, I got something saying I had signed up for Facebook — but it was in Spanish.”
Despite translating the emails in order to figure out where the link was to discontinue the emails, the emails from Facebook continued to rain down. We all know how it feels to accidentally sign up on an email list, then endure relentless hits to the inbox, but unlike the result when one clicks “unsubscribe” on a normal spammer, when she clicked on the button and was notified she would be disassociated with the account, nothing happened. Facebook didn’t stop the emails.
“Each message has an option to unsubscribe from those notifications, but since Facebook thinks I’m not on the account, it won’t let me unsubscribe.” So she created a new Facebook account with her new email address hoping that would work, but then she just got stuck getting notifications for both accounts.
“I’ve been battling with them for months trying to find a person at Facebook who would listen to me,” McKenzie said. But to no avail. The emails continued and she became worried when she realized that emails were meant for a minor.
She contacted Facebook’s PR and abuse departments, but heard nothing back. She contacted the FCC and a kids’ privacy organization that works with Facebook. They said they would pass the message to Facebook. Still nothing.
Then she got fed up and got help from Forbes.
That finally got their attention. The emails stopped last week and they said this,
“When we looked at what happened, we found that in extremely rare circumstances, the link at the bottom of emails that people use to report messages that aren’t addressed to them wasn’t working correctly,” says a Facebook spokesperson. “This could have occurred only in the situation where someone registered their Facebook account with a mistyped email address, didn’t confirm it, and then successfully confirmed a contact phone number. We are fixing this to ensure it can’t happen again.”
“This for me wasn’t even about something being irritating or annoying, weeding through all the spam … if it happened to me, it could happen to someone else, some child’s information exposed,” McKenzie said, and she makes a good point.
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