Facebook to disclose more info to users on data it stores

Written by Bloomberg | Updated: Apr 14 2012, 08:10am hrs
Facebook, seeking to address concerns about the personal information it collects on its users, said on Thursday that it would provide any user with more about the data it tracks and stores.

In a posting on its privacy blog, Facebook said the expanded archive feature would be introduced gradually to its 845 million monthly active users. It goes beyond the first archive made available in 2010, which has been criticised as incomplete by privacy advocates and regulators in Europe.

The archive Facebook published two years ago gave users a copy of their photos, posts, messages, list of friends and chat conversations. The new version, Facebook said, includes previous user names, friend requests and the internet protocol addresses of the computers that users have logged in from. More categories of information will be made available in the future, Facebook said.

Online social networks offer free services to users and make money primarily through advertising, which can often be directed more effectively using the information the network has collected on them.

Facebook, which is preparing for an initial public stock offering, most likely in May, has been trying to accommodate government officials in Europe, where privacy laws are more stringent than in the US.

Facebooks data collection practices have tested the boundaries of Europes privacy laws. The social networking site is Europes leading online network, according to comScore, a research firm in Reston.

In December, the Irish Data Protection Commission reached an agreement with Facebook, which runs its international businesses from offices in Dublin, to provide more information to its users and amend its data protection practices.