I’ve become disenchanted with social networking sites. For the most part, they’re pointless and inane. I can’t count how many useless quizzes and groups I’ve been invited to on Facebook. Most of my “friends” are acquaintances from long ago or people who I barely know. I can pick up the phone and call anybody that I really want to talk to. Facebook doesn’t offer anything useful, and I’m becoming increasingly concerned about other people stumbling across my Facebook profile, especially people that I don’t want finding me. Granted, you can’t see it unless I let you, but I don’t even want them to know I have one.
Well, the horror stories that you’ve heard about permanently deleting a Facebook profile are true. You can “deactivate” your account, but all you have to do to reactivate it is log in. And people can still tag you and invite you to join groups, so in what sense is your account inactive?
The only way to permanently remove your account from Facebook is to delete every single item in your profile — friends, mini-feeds, wall scribblings, etc. — and submit a written request to have it removed. I’m not sure which contact information at Facebook would be fastest, to I submitted my request to email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com simultaneously. I’ll let you know.
Luckily my profile wasn’t too elaborate, but I imagine deleting every profile item could be quite onerous for those who have hundreds of friends and walls. The system is obviously designed to be difficult. However, I don’t think we have much room to complain. We agree to the Terms of Service when we create an account. I suppose it’s our fault for not reading the fine print.
The Facebook debacle is illustrative of a growing trend, though. Privacy rights are going to become an important issue in an increasingly transparent society, where so much of our lives shift into the public domain.
Why do you think I write this blog anonymously?
On a final note, there is a faster way to get your Facebook account permanently deleted. You could violate the Terms of Service. Upload some pornographic pictures and inform firstname.lastname@example.org. That might get you removed faster than the legitimate method.