Facebook opens up more user data

Facebook has today improved users’ ability to see what information the company is holding about them – but hasn’t gone far enough, according to privacy campaigners.

First introduced in 2010, Download Your Information lets users access a list of what they’ve shared on Facebook, including photos, posts, messages, friend lists and messages.

“Now you can access additional categories of information, including previous names, friend requests you’ve made and IP addresses you logged in from,” says the company.

“This feature will be rolling out gradually to all users and more categories of information will be available for download in the future.”

The move comes following a highly critical report from the data protection authorities in Ireland, where Facebook’s European operation is headquartered.

The Irish investigation followed complaints from Austrian student Max Schrems of Europe-v-Facebook.org. That group, though, is still less than impressed.

“Instead of handing out a one-on-one copy of all 84 data categories Facebook is holding about every user, we will only get to see a fraction of this information,” it says.

“Many data categories are going to be not in the download tool but spread all over the webpage. This means that users have to hunt for it by digging through the ‘timeline’, the ‘activity log’ and other sorts of pages.”

Europe-v-Facebook.org is encouraging users to keep the pressure up and complain to both the Irish Data Protection Commission and the European Commission.