Facebook failing on privacy promises
Campaign group seeking to bring Facebook in line with Europe's tough Internet privacy rules.
Wed, Apr 04, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Photo: Leon Neal/AFP
VIENNA — Facebook has failed to meet a deadline to improve its privacy policies that was set by the data commissioner in Ireland, home to it overseas headquarters, an Austrian advocacy group said on April 3.
"Now it seems that Facebook is not even sticking to the obligations under this report," said Europe-versus-Facebook, a group set up by an Austrian student, Max Schrems, who has fought a long battle against the social networking website.
In December, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) said that Facebook had to better explain to users what happens to their personal data and give them more control.
The report, which followed a string of complaints by Schrems and his group, also called on Facebook to allow users to permanently delete old messages, friend requests, pokes, tags and posts.
"They're only proposals, we're trying to apply them in the best possible way," he added.
The DPC also told the Austria Press Agency that "important progress has been made" on Facebook's part and that it expected all recommendations to be fulfilled by July.
Europe-versus-Facebook said that 40,000 Facebook users had made use of the group's guide on how to request from the firm all the data it holds on them, but that so far "no one has received all data Facebook is legally bound to disclose."
Instead, Facebook has sent out emails to the users with a "download tool" that only held 22 of the 84 data categories Facebook holds about every user.
The group said it has now published forms enabling people to file a complaint with the European Commission.
Facebook, which says it has 845 million users including 483 million who log in daily, said in December that the DPC had "highlighted several opportunities to strengthen our existing practices."
"Facebook has committed to either implement, or to consider, other 'best practice' improvements recommended by the DPC, even in situations where our practices already comply with legal requirements," it had said.
On the Web: Europe versus Facebook
Copyright 2012 AFP Global Edition