Facebook retains the information held in deleted accounts


In February 2008, users discovered that deleting their account from Facebook does not entirely remove it. Instead, the company's servers retained copies of the information in those accounts indefinitely even after those users telephoned the company to request full removal. The company argued that retaining the data benefits users by making it easy for them to resurrect their accounts later, should they choose to do so. Facebook's website did not make this clear; only users who contacted the company's customer service were told they would need to delete each piece of data, item by item. Most other sites offered full deletion. As a complainant to the UK's Information Commissioner's Office found, a user's ability to delete their account is one of the EU's 1995 data protection principles.
Tags: Facebook, account deletion, data protection, UK, ICO
Writer: Maria Aspan
Publication: New York Times

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