Facebook has warned that any future regulations around privacy and the 'right to be forgotten' must not hinder the way in which the majority of its users want to share and retain personal information on the site.
European justice commissioner Viviane Reding confirmed last week that the 'right to be forgotten' will form one one of the four central pillars of new European data protection laws.
Richard Allan, Facebook's director of European policy, said at a Westminster Forum event on Tuesday that, while Facebook agrees that data protection is important, the desires of the majority of users should not suffer for the minority.
"The basic idea that users control their data and can follow core principles of the Data Protection Directive so they can amend, review and delete data is something we are aligned with," he said.
"Where there are concerns in Facebook and across the industry is an over-prescriptive interpretation of what these rights mean in practice."
Allan explained that most users are more interested in ensuring that data on Facebook is going to remain on the site so they have a record of photos and data, rather than having it removed.
"The primacy concern [from users] is that data will remain available and they want us to give them a guarantee that data will remain available in 10 or 15 years' time so they have a record of how things changed over time," he said.
"The last thing they want is for us to have to delete their data, so we need to find mechanisms that can deal with the exceptions rather than imposing on mainstream users that are comfortable putting information online."
Allan added that Facebook is in active discussions with the European Commission, and will meet Neelie Kroes and Viviane Reding in Brussels over the next two days to talk on these issues.
However, Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, believes that Facebook has let users down by moving towards a default public system for data, rather than conforming to expectations of privacy.
"Twitter is avowedly public, but on Facebook people sign up expecting a default private space. The way the terms and conditions have changed has undermined people's expectations," he said.
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