Facebook’s File On You

Andrew Sullivan —  Dec 12 2011 @ 10:39am

Screen shot 2011-12-08 at 4.14.20 PM

Earlier this year, Max Schrems, a 24-year-old Austrian law student, asked Facebook for all the information they had on him. Due to European law, they had to give it up:

Accordingly, Max received a CD containing about 1,222 pages (PDF files), including chats he had deleted more than a year ago, "pokes" dating back to 2008, invitations, and hundreds of other details. Berlin-based newspaper taz.de decided to visualize [taz.de] different aspects of this data: the magnitude of the 1,222 unique pages, the exact times Max logged in and wrote messages, the times of day messages he sent or received, Max's friend network, the locations of the pictures he took in Vienna, and the most popular tags of Max's messages.

Directions for how to get your own CD made its way to Reddit and readers have flooded Facebook with requests. Alicia Eler explains what became of Schrems' mission:

The European Commission is cracking down on the way Facebook gathers information about European users. A new EC Directive will ban targeted advertising unless users specifically say they want it. This is great news for European Facebook users…. The real question is: Why isn't this happening in America? All 800 million Facebook users agree to let the company use their personal information.