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Facebook to Offer More Disclosure of User Data

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In this week’s edition of the Geek Girl Report, I called out Facebook for their underhanded data-gathering policies. Now, it looks like we may be able to get some of that info back.

Today, Facebook announced it would make more of the information the site collects about its users available to the public. The feature “Download Your Information,”which has been available via the Account Settings screen since 2012, lets users see a list of various information Facebook has on them, like pictures, messages, and status updates. The company has now added friend requests, previous names and IP addresses to the list.

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.

Currently, Facebook has made only 32 of the required 84 categories available. And while it is a small step forward, it’s not going to be enough to alleviate people’s distrust of Facebook. Why not make all of this personal information available to all users? Facebook seem to have no problems handing all that info over to advertisers, but then when the users want that info back, it seems they’ll only give it out little pieces at a time.

It’s no wonder people have such a hard time trusting Facebook. It makes you wonder just how much info they have on us.

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