The office of the Data Protection Commissioner has welcomed a decision by social networking site Facebook to back down on a plan to hold on to people's personal information.

The site had been inundated with complaints since a new policy claiming rights to photos and profile information was announced two weeks ago.

Deputy Data Protection Commissioner, Gary Davis, said the change in policy was welcome, but that the proposal by Facebook to hold on to the information would not have been possible under European data protection law.

This gives everyone the right to seek deletion of their personal data and those holding it have to comply with the request.

Mr Davis said Irish people did not seem to be reading privacy statements or terms of use of websites and did not seem to notice changes in terms and conditions. He said the office of the Data Protection Commissioner was trying educate people to think about how their information is used.