The Kiwi social network that still has your deleted Facebook data

There's a good chance your old embarrassing Facebook posts and likes are still online, even if you've deleted your account.

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, many people and organisations have rushed to delete their profiles - including Playboy, Tesla and Space X.

But there's a little-known New Zealand-based search engine that scooped up millions of people's data in Facebook's early days, and it's still available.

The Profile Engine was set up by Profile Technology, whose managing director was Chris Claydon. It was a third-party search function that had access to publicly available Facebook data between 2007 and 2010. It indexed around 420 million profiles, including people's photos, likes, what groups they were a part of and more.

Facebook's privacy settings a decade ago weren't as sophisticated as they are now, and there was less public awareness about how data might be misused.

The Profile Engine's access was abruptly cut off in 2010, resulting in the two companies taking each other to court.

"We sued Facebook, fought hard in a David and Goliath battle and won a good settlement," its website's front page claims.

Profile Technology was represented in the legal battle by Ira Rothken - who has also defended alleged internet pirate mastermind Kim Dotcom.

"One day, maybe we'll have time to tell the whole story - you'd be utterly shocked what goes on inside Facebook - what you've already heard is just the tip of the iceberg," the Profile Engine's site says. "If you have a Facebook account, we strongly recommend that you delete it completely, without delay."

Despite the warning, the Profile Engine's data has been given to the Internet Archive and can be downloaded by anyone via Bittorrent. Its site says the data "will be exempt from most data protection laws worldwide" because it's a "historic archive of public data, owned by a charity".

The data amounts to more than 60GB, and appears to have been uploaded or last updated only a couple of weeks before the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke.

"Please use this data responsibly and respectfully, in accordance with the wishes of the Facebook users who originally chose to make it public and available to search engines," the site reads.

"I could have sold this data to some data broker for a lot of money and it would have been used by those with money for marketing or political purposes rather than freely available for the public good. Instead I donated it for free to the Internet Archive."

Profile Engine's page for Mark Zuckerberg says he has "minimal" influence on social media (the images failed to load on Newshub's computer). Photo credit: Profile Engine/Newshub.

The site links to a crowdfunding Patreon account for a 'Chris', believed to be Mr Claydon, which has zero supporters.

The Privacy Commissioner investigated Profile Engine's practises in 2012, and determined it hadn't breached the Privacy Act.

"At the time Profile Technology copied profiles the information was publically available and able to be indexed," it said.

Profile Engine's help section says it cannot "automatically delete data from Profile Engine when it is deleted from Facebook" because it no longer has access. It has its own takedown system, which the Privacy Commissioner said was adequate from a legal perspective.