Loophole In Facebook Privacy Policy Unintentionally Outs LGBT Students

Despite placing privacy controls on their personal information, University of Texas-Austin students Bobbi Duncan and Taylor McCormick were outed when the head of the LGBT choir added them to its Facebook group.

The Wall Street Journal reports (via Think Progress):

The president of the chorus, a student organization at the University of Texas campus here, had added Ms. Duncan and Mr. McCormick to the choir’s Facebook group. The president didn’t know the software would automatically tell their Facebook friends that they were now members of the chorus.

The two students were casualties of a privacy loophole on Facebook—the fact that anyone can be added to a group by a friend without their approval. As a result, the two lost control over their secrets, even though both were sophisticated users who had attempted to use Facebook’s privacy settings to shield some of their activities from their parents.

As a result of her outing, Duncan’s father “left vitriolic messages on her phone, demanding she renounce same-sex relationships, she says, and threatening to sever family ties,” while McCormack’s father “didn’t talk to his son for three weeks.”

Facebook is currently trying to make its privacy policies clearer to LGBT users, but once Big Brother’s read your diary, he’s bound to go blabbing to all his friends.