Nude on the net:
Thanks to European data privacy rules, some folks have successfully requested and received a detailed list of all the data that Facebook has kept about them. They’ve released a redacted version of the document for one person, which comes in at a hefty 880 pages. To be honest, nothing in this is all that surprising, but it does highlight just how much data Facebook ends up with and that it appears to not delete very much, if anything, ever.
The parts that seemed a bit questionable to me were things like recording every computer from which you’d ever logged in… as well as a list of all other Facebook people who have logged in from that same machine. I’m assuming they use this for security/anti-phishing, but it’s still a bit creepy to keep all that information. The other part that’s a bit strange is that Facebook keeps deleted messages. That’s a bit more troubling, since most people expect that when they delete things, they’re really deleted. Still, while a lot of people may make a big deal out of this, it still doesn’t seem particularly surprising or really bad. At best it’s just a reminder of how much info you’re giving out, and that Facebook is hanging onto… forever. Perhaps your “permanent record” is becoming a real thing.
Addendum, Later That Same Day:
At sfgate dot com, James Temple expresses his qualms about Facebook’s
creepy internet stalking “frictionless sharing.” Then he describes how to tweak your privacy settings:
From there, click on each app (I had 26), and change the selection following “Who can see posts and activity from this app?” from “friends” to “customize.” Finally, click to change the setting to “only me.”
Despite the pain, this can be a useful exercise. You’ll likely be shocked at the number of apps that a) you never realized you authorized b) have the right to post to Facebook “as you” and c) have access to your photos, videos, relationships and other information generally irrelevant to their stated function.