Facebook May Have to Delete Your Embarrassing Posts

NEW YORK — Should social media users have the right to erase embarrassing posts from their teenage years?

The British government thinks so.

Draft U.K. legislation would allow individuals to ask for information posted on social media during childhood to be deleted. Platforms would then delete the posts, subject to “very narrow exemptions.”

The bill proposed on Monday would in certain circumstances also allow users to request a social media platform remove all their posts.

It said that platforms should comply with the requests unless they have a legal reason to keep the data public.

The government said its goal was to give people more control over their own data. It would require companies to receive “explicit” consent from users before collecting their information, for example.

The draft rules would also also force companies to disclose personal data it holds on an individual at their request.

Matt Hancock, a U.K. government minister, said the bill would give Britain “one of the most robust, yet dynamic, set of data laws in the world.” Parliament must approve the bill before it becomes law.

Related: The uncertain future of Internet privacy

The legislation builds on digital privacy rules already on the books in the European Union, while adding a heavy emphasis on social media.

Europe’s “right to be forgotten” has been opposed by the tech industry, which argues that allowing individuals to erase themselves from search results is a form of censorship.

Google is fighting efforts to apply the right across national borders, saying that doing so would severely limit freedom of expression on the internet.

France, for example, wants search results removed from google.fr to be stricken from Google in the U.K. and Germany.

The new U.K. rules could undermine the business model of top social media platform including Facebook, which profit from selling data about users to advertisers.

6 comments

  • LLOYD SCHMUCATELLI

    I think this is a great idea. I have regretted the posts I have made over the years and now they are on Google. I think we all need to think about what we are doing as I have changed my bad ways and have seen the light. This is a new Lloyd and I will never go back to being the same again. My name from now on will be sending messages of peace. I know that my posts were because I was an angry person and lashed out at others because of my own insecurities and my life’s failures. Let’s give these young people a chance to not make the same mistake.

  • RJELQ

    Teenage years? In the Skook people well in into the 30’s and 40s on Facebook act 15 years old everyday! There is no need to go back in time far to delete posts. How bout lets just block Ip addresses from people like that.

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