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Coz' the Facebook ain't listening...

So, Channel 4 has quizzed facebook about just why they make it so hard to delete an account. For those of you just catching up, facebook allow you to ‘deactivate’ an account very easily but not delete all the data that you have put into their system. In order to fully delete the account, you need to manually delete every single item that you have placed into their care. They have said in the past that this is to make it easy to reactivate your account should you suffer a change of heart.

They make the following point:

Facebook does not use any information from deactivated accounts for advertising purposes.

They have to say this. One of the major value proposition of facebook is that they give you a useful tool to do what you want with in return for making money off your personal data from advertising revenue. I feel that it would be very wrong for them to farm out your data if you are no longer getting some benefit from it.

So, why keep it, and why make it so hard to properly remove yourself from their servers? I really hope the reasons are technical and that the database design has been organically grown or designed such that there is no referential integrity, thus making it harder to traverse down the various content stores working out who owns what.

At the risk of calling down the ire of facebook (and yes, I would be temporarily lost without it) I am seriously beginning to consider whether I want to give my data to this company no matter how granular the access controls are when there are some interesting alternatives (and no, I’m not talking about the excerable myspace).

So, we shall see. This isn’t yet my ‘turn off facebook moment’ but it may well not be far around the corner…

[Edited to add – this is an interesting take as well which makes one wonder – they say they don’t use deactivated information for advertising purposes. However, that answer very effectively excludes the many, many other uses the data has. Worrying.]

Published on 2007/11/21 at 18:21 by Toby, tags ,

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    by Toby Bryans 2007/11/22 at 08:24

    Well, quite :). When I say ‘turn off facebook’ I mean delete all my provided content and then deactivate the account. Which will take a while if the current regime continues…

  • Gravatar

    by Adrian Smith 2007/11/22 at 04:49

    But it can’t be your “turn off facebook moment”: as there’s no way to turn off facebook, as you mentioned :)

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