Many Facebook users don’t think before sending messages to their friends that the contents of those messages could be read by anyone else. The incredible amount of trust put into Facebook has been betrayed and users are appalled to find out that their messages, activity, and all of their personal information has been released to advertising companies so that the advertising companies could display targeted ads to the users.

So does this happen to everyone? Don’t personal privacy settings have any bearing on this? Unfortunately it does happen to everyone no matter how strict your privacy settings are. Your sexuality, religious beliefs, and even political preferences are all given to advertisers. But that’s not all..

The Facebook information gathered and passed to advertising companies is much more extensive and intrustive than many believe. Not only does it track and store information on the user themselves, but also on their friends, their educational backgrounds, their status updates, and much more. Even chats that people have together are stored by Facebook, despite the users deleting them. For example a high school student getting ready to go to college may end up getting targeted ads for dorm room furniture, various college ads, and more.

This negligent violation of privacy has outraged many because of the fact that Facebook doesn’t notify its users that it will be utilizing their personal information in such a way. While many understand that advertising is a big profit and money is what makes the world go round, people simply want to be notified prior to their information being utilized.

The ?European Commission is planning on banning this advertising in a new directive that will be out in January. Unfortunately this move will threaten Facebook’s plans for next year’s stock exchange because it severely compromises one of the main ways they make money.

The European Commission is taking this violation of privacy very seriously and is meeting next week with the UK Information Commissioner to discuss their next moves.

So where did all of this information stem from? Who exactly noticed the vast amount of information retained by Facebook? The answer is an Australian student named Max Schrems. Max sent a request into Facebook asking what information was held on him and what he got back was astonishing…and incomplete. Max was sent a CD which contained 1,222 pages of information on him and after reviewing it he complained to the data watchdogs because it was clear that Facebook had even more information on him which they did not disclose.

How many pages of information does Facebook have on you? Perhaps you should call and find out!