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Facebook Ireland in Trouble over Shadow Profiles

The Irish Data Protection Commissioner (IDPC) has announced that it plans to launch an investigation against Facebook Ireland for allegedly creating shadow profiles of users who haven't signed up.

According to Fox News (opens in new tab), the IDPC claims that the company is taking data from existing users, without their knowledge and creates shadow profiles on people who have not signed on the platform.

Everything including name, address, email id, religious view, work information and sexual orientation of non-users is gathered and stored by the company. IDPC is reacting on a complaint lodged by a 24 year old Austrian student, Max Schrems, who after attending a Facebook conference in California, asked the company for all his data stored with it. The company sent him a CD containing 1,200 pages of data, most of which was supposedly deleted from his account, ranging from chat messages and pokes to friend requests and the list of people he had removed from his friend list.

"We enable you to send e-mails to your friends, inviting them to join Facebook. We keep the invitees' e-mail address and name to let you know when they join the service," Facebook said, reacting to the charges. "This practice is common among almost all services that involve invitations--from document sharing to event planning--and the assertion that Facebook is doing some sort of nefarious profiling is simply wrong.

In addition, Facebook offers more control than other services by enabling people to delete their e-mail address from Facebook or to opt-out of receiving invites," the company added.

Get the copy of the complaint on shadow profiles here [PDF] (opens in new tab).

Ravi Mandalia

Ravi Mandalla was ITProPortal's Sub Editor (and a contributing writer) for two years from 2011. Based in Ahmedabad, India, Ravi is now the owner and founder of Parity Media Pvt. Ltd., a news and media company, which specializes in online publishing, technology news and analysis, reviews, web site traffic growth, web site UI. Ravi lists his specialist subjects as: Enterprise, IT, Technology, Gadgets, Business, High Net Worth Individuals, Online Publishing, Advertising, Marketing, Social Media, News, Reviews, Audio, Video, and Multi-Media. He has also previously worked as Dy. Manager - IT Security at (n)Code Solutions.