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Facebook Chat is now down for maintenance. The feature was presumably disabled following a report that exposed a Facebook security bug that allowed users to access and view friends’ live chats, friend requests and friends in common.

The report indicates that access to this personal information was accessible via Facebook’s privacy settings, with the Preview My Profile feature creating the loophole to access the private live chats of friends.

With Preview My Profile, users can view how their profile appears to any given Facebook friend. The bug apparently let those users see the live chats and friend requests of the friend in question.

Unfortunately for the company, this is not the first time users’ personal information has been exposed without consent. Earlier this year, user e-mail addresses were exposed in a hiccup following a site update. The company is also facing scrutiny from users and politicians displeased with the opt-in settings of Facebook’s Open Graph implementation.

We’ve reached out to Facebook for more information and comment on the situation, but as of now there is no word on how widespread of an issue this is or was, or when Facebook Chat will be re-enabled.

The video from TechCrunch reporter Steve O’Hear below recreates the exploit.

Update: Facebook writes, “Chat is unavailable as we work quickly to fix a bug reported to us. It should return to normal soon. Because of the bug, people could view friends’ chat messages and friend requests for a limited amount of time if they manipulated the “preview my profile” feature in a specific way. We’ve fixed that issue and took down Chat as soon as we became aware of it. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

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Tags: facebook, facebook privacy settings, privacy