"…Facebook hadn't been unable to confirm…"

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Katie Rogers-Follow, "Facebook is not leaking your private messages – though you once did", The Guardian (US News Blog) 9/24/2012:

Monday afternoon, Facebook spokesperson Frederic Wolens added that Facebook hadn't been unable to confirm any issue related to a leakage of private messages.

Probably this is just a typo — though at the moment it's been up on the Grauniad's website for almost a week, suggesting that it's the kind of typo that's easy to fail to miss. Anyhow, it's one for the misnegation archives.

The obligatory screenshot:

[Tip of the hat to Amanda Adams.]


  1. Tanja said,

    September 30, 2012 @ 11:41 am

    My latest misnegation find:

    "I don't ink anything at all anymore, I haven't for years. But, I also don't find that lack of ink doesn't mean the paper edges don't pop and get lost."

    She's talking about inking the edges of papers, commonly done in scrapbooking to add contrast between the different layers of paper. I think she's saying that her paper edges still pop and don't get lost, even if she doesn't ink them anymore. So "doesn't mean" should be "means"?

  2. Ran Ari-Gur said,

    September 30, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

    If we're sharing instances of scalar inversion . . . I heard an interesting one on the radio this past Wednesday. The program was about the recovery of the housing market, and the host was introducing a guest, the manager of a building company.

    – host: Enzo, welcome!
    – guest: Good morning, Mike.
    – host: Very good to have you with us this morning. So, are you busy?
    – guest: We certainly are! Uh, but not busy enough to talk to you.
    – host: *laughs* Good.

    I'm reasonably confident that the guest meant "Not too busy to talk to you." I found this one interesting because with most examples posted on Language Log, I have to re-read them to see the problem (which probably supports the "poor monkey brain" hypothesis), but this one sounded wrong to me as soon as I heard it.

    (You can hear the episode at http://www.ideastream.org/soi/entry/49162. The above-quoted exchange starts about 17 minutes, 19 seconds in.)

  3. Jerry Friedman said,

    September 30, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

    I found the headline and the first sentence opaque. Apparently what "Facebook is not leaking your private messages – though you once did" is supposed to mean is "…though you once posted public messages", or really, "Facebook is not leaking your private messages – you posted them publicly"

  4. Ran Ari-Gur said,

    September 30, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

    @Jerry Friedman: I think the writer is punning on two different senses of the word "private": Facebook isn't leaking people's "private messages" in the narrow/precise/technical/computing sense of that term, but people leaked their own "private messages" in a broad/general/social-norms sense, by posting private things publically. (If a movie contains full frontal nudity, does the actor still have "private parts"? I'd say yes.)

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