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International Law: Freedom to Differ
Facebook in privacy trouble ... again
Facebook's practice of not deleting accounts is attracting scrutiny in the UK:
Is Facebook facing some more flack for its user policies in the UK? After users complained about Facebook?s policy regarding the deactivation of an account, the Information Commissioner?s Office has initiated an investigation to look into the matter. Turns out, Facebook doesn?t delete all your information just because you?ve deactivated your account. Facebook says this is in part due to the fact that some users may want to come back to Facebook later and reactivate their accounts.
But for those that really have no intention of coming back to Facebook, they?re probably not realizing that deactivation does not equal deletion. Users that don?t want Facebook to hold on to their information must log back in and literally delete it all. That?s tedious, and annoying. It?s even disheartening. Disheartening enough to make you not want to do it. Does that mean Facebook wins in the end?
That depends on what Facebook is doing with the information. It?s no longer an active part of the Facebook community, so could it still be used for marketing research to some extent? Perhaps, but if there?s no direct connection back to users, does it matter? The other aspect of this situation to consider is the principality of it all. Should Facebook have the right to hold onto that information once a user account is deactivated?
While Facebook?s policy is in fact in compliance with the UK data protection law, this entire situation boils down to the same thing so many other Facebook policy situations boil down to: everyone wants Facebook to improve the way in which it gets the message out to users. Be overbearingly obvious with messages to users about every aspect of their account. Would that get annoying to you? According to the BBC report, the Commissioner?s Office plans on working with Facebook and other sites in order to get the important info sent out to users when they sign up. Hopefully this won?t turn into a case of completely bombarding users at the point of entry, and everyone can find a happy medium.
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