Facebook being probed over privacyICO investigating how site uses personal data

22 January 2008

laptop on table being used

The UK’s privacy watchdog is investigating how social networking site Facebook deals with users’ personal data.

The probe by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) follows a complaint by a Facebook user who was unable to fully delete their profile after shutting their account.

Personal information remains on Facebook’s servers after a user deactivates an account, but the social networking site says its policy fully complies with UK data protection law.

Data protection

A statement from the site said: ‘We take the concerns of the ICO and our users' privacy very seriously and are committed to working with the ICO to maintain a trusted environment for all Facebook users and ensure compliance with UK data laws.’

Facebook members who want to leave the site can currently deactivate their account.

But once deactivated, the information – though no longer visible – remains on Facebook’s computers.

Users who wish to completely deactivate their information have to log in and delete all profile content.

ICO investigation

The ICO has said it's concerned that this means the onus is completely on an individual to delete their data.

The ICO told Which? that it was continuing to check whether Facebook complied with the Data Protection Act.

It added that it was still in talks with Facebook about people being able to delete their details and that its investigation would probably be concluded  later this year.