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British soccer player falls foul of Facebook's privacy options

This one could happen to almost anybody. A young British soccer player appears to have inadvertently told millions of Facebook users about a pending transfer to a rival club.
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Written by Steve O'Hear on

This one could happen to almost anybody. A young British soccer player appears to have inadvertently told millions of Facebook users about a pending transfer to a rival club.

Ashley-Paul Robinson, an 18-year-old winger who is currently signed to Crystal Palace, announced to his 194 Facebook "friends" that he was having a trial with London rivals and English Premier League club Fulham.

Or at least that's what he thought.

Instead, "the message could be seen by all 2.7m members of the site who have joined its London section, unwittingly breaking the story to supporters of both clubs and to anyone else in the capital interested in reading candid transfer gossip", reports The Guardian newspaper.

In other words, the young soccer player had fallen foul of Facebook's Group functionality, which, presumably due his privacy settings, had potentially exposed his profile, including status updates, to all 2.7m members of the London group he'd joined.

Robinson posted a message on Saturday which read: "Ashley-Paul is goin fulham on monday. If i pull dis off im on dis ting." On Sunday he added: "Ashley-Paul is travling 2 Bath With Fulham Fingers Crossed."

After news of the move spread, he posted a new message yesterday afternoon saying: "Ashley-Paul has been very naughty lol!"

As Facebook has grown beyond its University limits to become a mass social networking entity, adding lots of new features along with it, the privacy controls and implications are in danger of becoming overwhelmingly complex. While Facebook does allow a great deal of granularity when it comes to privacy settings, with each new option, the UI gets evermore cluttered. To lots of users, especially those that aren't so tech savvy or obsessed with this industry, Facebook represents a privacy accident waiting to happen.

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