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Facebook facing fine over retention of deleted user data

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By John Glenday, Reporter

October 21, 2011 | 1 min read

Facebook could be facing a fine of as much as 100,000 euros after an Austrian law student complained that the social networking site held 1,200 pages of personal data – much of which he had deleted.

Max Schrems discovered the practice after requesting a CD of all the messages and information he had posted on the site over a three year period, discovering many pieces of content which should no longer have existed.

That discovery prompted Schrems to go to the Irish data protection commissioner; European users are all administered by the Irish Facebook subsidiary, raising the possibility of a fine.

Schrem said: “I discovered Facebook had kept highly personal messages I had written and then deleted, which, were they to become public, could be highly damaging to my reputation.

Accusing Facebook of acting like "the KGB or the CIA" Schrems added: "I'm not saying there was anything criminal or forbidden there, but let's just say that, as someone wanting to work in law, there was stuff which could make it pretty impossible for me to get a job."

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