Facebook was forced to reverse a decision to introduce new terms and conditions which would have allowed the website to retain all users’ messages, actions and updates – even after they have deleted their account.

The site has now hastily unveiled a raft of measures which it says will make the site more open and accountable to its users. The complex and unwieldy terms and conditions will be replaced with a “bill of rights” and users have been promised a vote on controversial changes.

Facebook has triggered criticism over privacy on a number of occasions. In November 2007 they were forced into a climbdown over the ‘Beacon’ advertising system which generated personalised adverts telling users what their friends had been buying on online shopping sites.  The system was lambasted for spoiling surprise Christmas presents as well as privacy concerns.

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