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France Summons Facebook Over Privacy, Stock Price Tanks Again

LES ECHOS, METRO, 20 MINUTES (France), BBC, THE TELEGRAPH (UK)

Worldcrunch

Facebook has been forced to deny reports that private messages have been appearing publicly on the social networking site, as millions of users panic and company share prices plummet.

France's leading business daily Les Echos reports that the French government has summoned Facebook managers Tuesday to appear before the data watchdog CNIL.

"Clear and transparent explanations must be given without delay," a statement read, issued by French government ministers Arnaud Montebourg and Fleur Pellerin.

Whether fact or fiction, word started to spread when the website of French free daily Metro supposedly broke the story Monday afternoon that private messages dated from 2007 to 2009 were publicly appearing on users' timelines. The daily alleged that users' inbox messages were appearing on timelines "mixed in with comments on users' walls," and the story was subsequently picked up by European newspapers, with word traveling via Twitter, and guides appearing on how to rectify the problem.

Trying to calm the flurry of panicked messages, Facebook announced to the BBC on Monday evening that the rumors were "false," insisting that the "messages were older wall posts that had always been visible on the users' profile pages."

An unnamed source working at Facebook said that "no mechanism" had ever been created to allow private messages to appear publicly.

Andrew Bosworth, Facebook's director of engineering said, ""In case there was any concern, these are just wall posts and not personal messages… people just forget how we used to use the wall!," reports the Telegraph.

Can't tell from Facebook whether my private message have been leaked or if I simply had no concept of what was appropriate in public in 2008

— Duncan Robinson (@duncanrobinson) September 24, 2012

This Twitter user best demonstrates the possible explanation that society has perhaps become better adapted to self-censoring what appears publicly on Facebook than they were in 2007, as naïve newcomers to social networking.

However, many remain extremely skeptical of Facebook's intentions and the company's share prices were under intense pressure Monday, down 9.1% to $20.79.

The slump on Wall Street was mainly attributed to the American financial publication Barron's, which said the stock was only worth around $15 a share. Shares have plummeted 45% since they were first floated in May at $38 a share.

Facebook's real problem, of course, is how ready everyone was to believe the absolute worst.

— Milo Yiannopoulos (@Nero) September 24, 2012

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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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