September 28, 2011, 12:01 PM — Pop quiz: What do Facebook and the FBI have in common? They’re both keeping files on you – only Facebook’s is probably a lot more extensive.
No, this is not paranoia. Thanks to European privacy laws, Facebook friends across the pond can request their complete Facebook logs -- the same files Facebook would send to law enforcement agencies pursuant to a court order.
As Forbes blogger Kashmir Hill reports, the Europe vs. Facebook site has posted a handful of redacted copies of Facebook dossiers. The file for one user who’s been an active member since 2007 runs to 780 printed pages – and hers isn’t the largest one.
What’s in that file? More than you might think. Aside from the usual stuff people can glean from your public account, your Facebook file lists your credit card numbers, if you’ve provided any, and a whole lot more.
As they say on TV cop shows, anything contained within your Facebook file may be used against you in a court of law – as well as by divorce attorneys, people who are suing you, or private investigators just looking for dirt.
Here’s some of the information your Facebook file can reveal, as well as how it might be used.
Whom you’ve been avoiding. The document lists every friend request and how you responded – including people you’ve quietly turned away. So my mother isn’t good enough to be in your friends list, eh?
Whom you’ve been poking. The file lists every person you’ve poked and when you poked them, as well as who’s poked you back. It seems you’ve been having a nice little pokefest with your best friend’s spouse; what other kinds of poking have you two been up to?
Where you were last summer. Your dossier notes every time you’ve logged into Facebook and the IP address you used, as well as any check-ins you made. The IP address alone can give you a general idea of someone’s location; matched up with information from an ISP account, it can get pretty exact. So you said you were in Seattle on the dates in question, but you logged into Facebook six times from Los Angeles; would you care to explain that to the jury, Mr. Simpson?