Facebook could face a fine of up to €100,000 (£87,000) after an Austrian law student discovered the social networking site held 1,200 pages of personal data about him, much of which he had deleted.

Max Schrems, 24, decided to ask Facebook for a copy of his data in June after attending a lecture by a Facebook executive while on an exchange programme at Santa Clara University in California.

Schrems was shocked when he eventually received a CD from California containing messages and information he says he had deleted from his profile in the three years since he joined the site.

After receiving the data, Schrems decided to log a list of 22 separate complaints with the Irish data protection commissioner, which next week is to carry out its first audit of Facebook.

The thing that shocked me the most was that Facebook keeps “shadow profiles” about people who are not even on Facebook by crossing information they collect when you upload your contacts in the friend finder, for example.

Basically, Facebook keeps everything you ever do or type on their site, even if you delete it or ignore such actions as invitations and they connect all the data to the machines you use and their location. All the time. Call me naive but I didn’t think it was that bad.

You can read more about the incredible amount of data Facebook keeps about users (and non-users, apparently) in this article.

Edit: there’s an article in the Huff Post, dated october 21, 2011.