Aside from being a great way to keep in touch with everyone you’ve ever met and a prodigious time killer, Facebook.com is a big, fat cash cow for Mark Zuckerberg and pals. It’s also a privately owned company, which means that since you, the collegiate social networker, agreed to all its terms and conditions upon signing up, you willingly contribute whatever information you post to its vast archives.
But if you’ve ever tried to delete your Facebook account, you might be aware that merely deactivating your profile doesn’t actually get rid of it. Copies of the information in a deactivated account remain on Facebook servers indefinitely, and a lot of ex-Facebook users have found that trying to completely remove their information leaves them running in circles.
In a Technology feature today, the NY Times talks to a lot of pissed off people who have been trying to give up Facebook, but find that their membership on it is as persistent as the bad habit it used to be. Many are concerned and even paranoid about the fact that even though it offers a “deactivate account” option, Facebook never really tells you that it still has everything stored in its data mine – unlike other social networking sites like Myspace and eHarmony.
This raises the issue of potential abuse of data by selling it to advertisers. The Facebook company is still trying to find ways to make larger profits off the enormous traffic it gets (over 65 billion per month), and providing marketers the treasure trove of demographic and behavioral information it contains seems to have the most potential.
Facebook spokespeople maintain that they’re not doing anything illegal, and besides, anyone who is complaining should realize that they agreed to the terms and conditions and should have read them before bitching about it. Also, if they ever plan to reactivate their accounts, it’s really simple to do so since nothing was deleted from the archives.
In response to all this concern, a slowly growing community has formed in the network of Facebook groups – people who plan to leave Facebook someday but find it convenient to stay on for awhile with the knowledge of how to eventually get out. The largest one is a group with about 5,000 members called “How to permanently delete your facebook account,” detailing the methods with which you can ostensibly be Facebook-free forever.
It might not be much, but if you ever muster up the willpower to free yourself from Scrabulous, the burning need for constant self-image reinvention, and stalking people in your NSM classes, this might help you out.
Get the whole article here:
How Sticky Is Membership on Facebook? Just Try Breaking Free