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Facebook expands data download tool, but 'doesn't go far enough'

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Facebook has expanded a tool allowing users to discover more of the data held about them on the social network, but campaigners have warned the move does not go far enough.

A number of new categories have been added today to the 'Download Your Information' tool on Facebook, and Mark Zuckerberg's social network has said that more downloadable data will be added in the future.

However, campaigners argued that the disclosure does not go far enough, and fails to meet with the requirements of European Law.

Facebook introduced the Download Your Information tool in 2010, giving users a digital copy of photos, posts, messages and friend requests they shared on the network in a compressed data file.

In a blog posting today, Facebook said that the "expanded archive" now includes more detailed information, such as previous names, friend requests made by the user and any IP addresses they logged in on.

"This feature will be rolling out gradually to all users and more categories of information will be available for download in the future. Download Your Information is available from your Facebook Account Settings," said Facebook.

The Europe V Facebook group described the move as a "partial success" but warned that Facebook is still not fulfilling its obligation under European law to grant users access to all their personal data.

The group said in a blog post that it is aware of around 40,000 requests for data access that have been made to Facebook, but claimed that none of these have been honoured by the company, despite it being legally bound to do so.

Mark Zuckerberg
They are concerned that even with the update, the Download Your Information tool only holds 22 categories as opposed to the 84 data categories users should get access to under European law.

Europe V Facebook also said that this latest data download move by Facebook is intended to "fool" users and the media that it is operating within the law.

Max Schrems, the spokesman for Europe V Facebook, said: "If we would have gotten our data in such a format we would have been unable to file the complaints against Facebook. We would have never found out that Facebook is still keeping deleted information.

"This seems to be exactly the reason why Facebook is not giving all users access to the data. This latest move has just one outcome: The user gets a small amount of processed data instead of giving users the full copy of all raw data, as they would be obliged to under European law."

Facebook says that it is acting in full accordance with a report by the Irish Data Protection Commission, but Schrems feels that this is not in-line with European legislation and so has submitted a complaint about the report to the European Commission.

Europe V Facebook recently won a ruling in Germany over the way Facebook raids a user's address book for the Friend Finder tool, after a judge ruled that this was not in accordance with German data protection law.

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