2504 Steps to closing your Facebook account.

(edit: Thanks Julien, for introducing me to the awesome destructive power of Digg.) ;)

Yes, it's true! I finally managed to close my Facebook account. It was a long, arduous road - the hardest part was slaying the Gorgon on level 16 - and I'm glad it's finally over.

If you, cherished reader, are wondering why I would do such a thing, then wipe those potato skins off the top of your Bananarama tour t-shirt and keep reading:

I already left Flickr, Myspace, Youtube, and most of the other similar web services because they want to eat our babies. The process was fairly straightforward for each of those (Though Flickr ends it with a pretentious fuck-off: "Thanks for using Flickr. See ya!" Whatever. Goddamn wankers).

Facebook, however, was a much more interesting endeavour. You see, you can't really close your Facebook account once you open it; you can only deactivate it, which I somehow missed when reading their 913 page privacy policy:

Changing or Removing Information

Access and control over most personal information on Facebook is readily available through the profile editing tools. Facebook users may modify or delete any of their profile information at any time by logging into their account [though we don't provide any means to delete more than one item at a time, which is about as enjoyable as having your nose picked by Andre the Giant]. Information will be updated immediately. Individuals who wish to deactivate their Facebook account may do so on the My Account page. Removed information may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time [Eternity is reasonable!] but will not be generally available to members of Facebook and by 'generally', we mean sometimes, and by 'members of Facebook', we don't mean our corporate and government buddies named Clives or Dustin who come golfing with us on the second tuesday of every month, after the Freemason meeting].

Emphasis mine.

When I first wanted to leave Facebroke after seeing an ex-flame post ridiculous badly photoshopped pics of her in a bikini , I must've missed the subtle distinction between 'DEACTIVATE' and 'CLOSE MY FUCKING ACCOUNT YOU GODDAMN CAPUCHINS'.

Maybe it was a gremlin in the system, but I kept receiving emails from Facebook - I couldn't find out how to leave their subscription list. I kept digging until I tried logging in again with my 'deactivated' account. To my surprise, they sent me an email telling me how to 'reactivate' my account - meaning that Facebook still kept a copy of all of my personal data, indefinitely. No offense, guys, but what the fuck?

It's one thing when I choose to leave a web service (Flickr, Youtube) because I don't want them profiting from my content. It's another when they prevent me from leaving. Is this really the only choice we have left? Shitty web companies vs. shitty web companies that keep and distribute your personal data ad infinitum even when you request your account to be closed?

As it turns out, I had to 'contact' facebook and ask them how to delete my account, only to find out that I have to manually delete every single minifeed item, friend, post, wall writing, etc by hand, one-by-one, or else they will refuse to close your account. When you're a member of the Internet High Society as I am, you find that you have thousands of these items to delete.

Here's the complete transcript of the conversation I had with "Lucy From Facebook". You'll find me tedious, boring, petty, and acting like the douchebaggiest dick you'll ever know. In other words, it's just like meeting me in person.

Hello,

I've recently "deactivated" my Facebook account, but cannot find a way
to completely delete my account.

I would like all of my information to be wiped from the facebook
servers.

Please delete my account en related information in its entirety (my
account email address is steven [at] stevenmansour.com), or send me
instructions on how to do so myself.

Thank you for your time,

s.

Hi Steven,

If you deactivate, your account is removed from the site.
However, we save all your profile content (friends, photos,
interests, etc.), so if you want to reactivate sometime, your
account will look just the way it did when you deactivated. If you
do want your information completely wiped from our servers, we
can do this for you. However, you need to remove all profile
content before we can do this. Once you have cleared your
account, let us know and we'll take care of the rest.

Thanks for contacting Facebook,

Lucy
Customer Support Representative
Facebook

Hi Lucy,

I've removed all profile content from my account as per your request.
Now, please go ahead and completely delete my account
(steven [at] stevenmansour.com).

The procedure to close an account on Facebook is needlessly convoluted
and unclear. To bring itself inline with privacy policies dictating good
behaviour on the web (see http://www.privacyinternational.org/ ), it
would be a good idea for Facebook to give users a one-step option to
close / delete their account instead of just 'deactivating' it, which is
misleading (if not blatantly dishonest) to users.

Please let me know when my account has been completely destroyed.

Thank you,

Steven Mansour

Hi Steven,

I apologize, but you have not completely deleted all of your
information. You still have incoming and outgoing messages,
wall posts, mini-feed stories, friends, and contact information
remaining on your profile. Once you have completely removed
all information from your account, I will permanently delete it for
you.

Thanks for contacting Facebook,

Lucy
Customer Support Representative
Facebook

I'm sorry, but it is unreasonable to expect users to manually delete,
one-by-one, each and every bit of information / friends / "notes" / wall
writings that they've posted or that other users have posted on their
accounts. It would take me hours to delete each wall post and feed
story.

It would be far easier for you to simply delete my account - and asking
me to manually erase each entry is unnecessary.

At this point, you have two choices:

- You can stop giving me the run-around, and just delete my account so
that everyone will be happy, or

- You can refuse to comply with your own privacy policy and user
standards, in which case I will be forced to escalate this situation.

Please advise,

Steven Mansour

Hi Steven,

I apologize for any inconvenience, however this is our privacy
policy for permanently deleting accounts. I am unable to delete
your account unless you have personally removed all of your
information. You may either completely clear your account so
that I can finish this process for you, or you can leave your
account deactivated. Let me know if you have further questions.

Thanks for contacting Facebook,

Lucy
Customer Support Representative
Facebook

Lucy from Facebook,

I've removed all my private data.

Close my account.

s.

Hi Steven,

We have processed your request. Let me know if you have any
further issues.

Thanks for contacting Facebook,

Lucy
Customer Support Representative
Facebook

Now, most people won't get why this is such a big deal. But it is a big deal. Your personal data, especially on the web, is something that will be increasingly valuable to corporate and government interests - and increasingly important (and, perhaps, difficult) to protect.

I'm reminded of being at the SaveTheInternet.Com party in Memphis (Christ, what the fuck is a "YouTuber"?) where everyone was giving each other handjobs over how they spread the message about Net Neutrality and beat the telecoms with the help of Google and Yahoo. They didn't realize that they helped win the battle, but in doing so, they lost the war. They turned a blind eye to their supposed allies and failed to apply the same yardstick to measure privacy neutrality as they did to network neutrality. Google is ranked as one of the worst privacy firms on the net.

I don't know about you, but I like the idea of being in charge of my own private data, and controlling access to it accordingly. There will be lots of interesting battles fought over this in the next few years, so whatever you do, make sure you think long and hard about just how open you want to be with you own privacy - and whether others will treat it with the same respect as you do.

This handy chart should help you decide who to trust with you data and how to stay ahead of the curve on the interweb of the future:

2007 - 2008 Internet Web Food Chain

Comments

MinoruHackerGuy
Saturday, February 23rd, 2008
MinoruHackerGuy's picture

Heh. I find it funny that you can insult someone for telling you that a company is keeping your private information. What do you want him to say? Would you like him to lie and tell you everything is going to be OK? My guess is that you are either the myspace user or the mac fanboy on the pyramid. If you're the myspace user, your private information is at a great risk, simply because of the insanely easy to execute cross site scripting attacks one can issue. If you're the Mac fanboy, I can't yell at you for it. ^^;; After all, an OS is a preference for most people. (Others have no reasonable alternative given the circumstances.) Please refrain from insulting someone for their views on an experience they've been through, when you've never been through it. If you have been through this situation and know of a better way of doing it, please let us know. It would help thousands.

Incognito
Friday, February 20th, 2009
Incognito's picture

heh heh, i just posted a link to this site to my facebook page. think they'll seek revenge?

Fed up with FB
Wednesday, July 25th, 2007
Fed up with FB's picture

One of the ways I recently found out to remove all your Facebook data in one sweep (ok...maybe not in one, but in like seven steps instead of 1032) is to open another, entirely new Facebook account with no data in it, remove yourself from any networks in your previous account, and then de-activate it. Then, in your new Facebook account, change the primary e-mail address to the one associated with the old Facebook account. Since Facebook uses email addresses as the usernames for logging-in purposes, the next time you login to your new account, it will display a message asking you to confirm deleting all data related to your email address (read old Facebook account).

 

And since your new account has no data in it whatsoever, you can then email the Facebook people to delete the new one too.

 

This method involves opening a new email account but with so many (and so many crappy) web-mail services, that should hardly be a problem. I tried this method a month back (trust me...there are some crazy girls out there!!), so I am only 87% sure technique will wokr. It worked back then, but their policy might have changes by then. So let me know how this works out.

 

And then, in the precious time we saved being away from Facebook, we can plan a guirella army to prevent Facebook from taking over the world..just kidding...no...seriously...

 

--

Mudit

stevenmansour
Thursday, July 26th, 2007
stevenmansour's picture

That seems like a good idea... I haven't tried it though, and I don't think I will. But I'd be interested of someone else tried this now to see if it still works.

A guerilla army to prevent Facebook from taking over the world is a great idea... let's start a facebook group about it! ;)

LSC
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007
LSC's picture

I'll try it. I asked how to delete my profile and I got the same template responce. I'll give it a go this weekend after pasting the link to this blog as a reason why I want to get off Facebook. I waisted so much time on Facebook.  

Josh
Wednesday, July 25th, 2007
Josh's picture

Surely there is something in the Data Protection Act which covers this.

I beleieve that upon request any holder of personal/sensitive data must provide you with a copy of the data and/or edit and/or delete it as desire.

I had a problem with Yahoo!, more specifically the Yahoo! Answers section. They removed a question of mine claiming I had violated the terms of use, when prompted to provide details of the question and which parts of it broke the terms of use I recieved a lame response telling me that it was in their terms of use that they do not have to provide reasons. To which I replied with a request of all personal data and posts made by myself that was held on their system. I sent that email just over 2 months ago...still no response.

It seems that these big companies don't care about the law, their users, their users privacy... all they want is money... money... money. One small person isn't going to win a lawsuit against them over a miniscule amount of data held on their systems. The internet is becoming a bad place...it just get's worse :(

P.S, I don't see any problem with the commenting system, works well for me :)

Jaquan
Friday, February 20th, 2009
Jaquan's picture

How about you read the user agreement before you actually use the service there genius. Your just mad cause they out smarted you. You clicked agreed and now your pissed cause you agreed. You dont tell someone how to ruin there service dumbass, they will run it how they want. Your just a bitch. If you dont want to have your personal info up then dont put it up in the first time and deal with the one by one deleting, you agreed to it jackass.

Incognito
Friday, February 20th, 2009
Incognito's picture

Steve,
I found all of your comments very entertaining and informative. Thanks for the info. Good to know. Additionally, you are hot man !

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007
mir's picture

I try to stay away from anything with camp in the title on principle. Unless the camp in question involves nifty cocktails and drag-queens. Seriously, no. I don't think I would enjoy it.

 

Why does your captcha work and mine doesn't???

Oh yeah and also yours work but it always thinks my first answer is wrong always.

Fkucking captchahs[as

 

 

Nitrostar
Thursday, July 26th, 2007
Nitrostar's picture

Sorry to break it to you.. but there was a FAR easier and quicker way of getting all of your Facebook data erased than what you had to go through....

 I have several college friends that have had their facebook accounts terminated due to violations of service. I think you have 2 warnings and then they close your account. The warnings I know where for the following reasons:

1.- opened a facebook group called "stanford biatches you ain't hot" (someone complained, facebook took down the group, and sent a warning to each admin)

2.- uploaded an album full of pornographic material (same story, someone complained, etc, etc)

stevenmansour
Thursday, July 26th, 2007
stevenmansour's picture

You might be right, and a few people mentioned that possibility both here and on digg.

But like mentioned below, there's no way to know if they really erase your data or if they just deactivate your account.

Besides, there should always be a 'close your account' button, and if I had done it the easy way, I wouldn't have been able to write the article. :)

Duey
Thursday, July 26th, 2007
Duey's picture

That was an awesome article Steven.
A person must stand up for one's rights even if some Facebook employee named Lucy is being a pain in the ass.
The main reason why I am still at Facebook is to talk to people that I saw like 10years ago.
Now Myspace is the biggest load of bullsh$t in the world.
Peace

stevenmansour
Thursday, July 26th, 2007
stevenmansour's picture

Thanks very much Duey!

I do think it's a privacy rights issue. I don't think Lucy was being a pain in the ass (if anyone was, I was); she was just following orders and doing her job. I'm pretty sure she had to ask her supervisor to read every response before replying.

Yeah, it was neat to find people from high school on Facebook, but that novelty faded quickly for me.

There will always be something new coming... myspace, facebook, twitter, etc etc etc ad nauseum. None of them will last, even when they got bought out for exorbitant amounts of money by yahoogle.

"When all the Facebooks have faded into dust, my blog will still be left standing." ;)

Incognito
Friday, September 26th, 2008
Incognito's picture

That isn't *really* why you're on Facebook. -They only want you to think that. If those people from, like, ten years ago are so important to you, you'll send them an email, call them, or low and behold, send a letter with photos that they can put up on their fridge. It's a popularity contest. The same one you had in high school, only now you're showing off your diamond ring or your newborn instead of your Guess? jeans. I had a long discussion on "social" networking the other day with a therapist, and got the same story, especially with Facebook and others that send a cute little announcement to all of your friends when you have any "social" activity on your page. It's Sheila telling Johnny in the cafeteria: "Guess who Sarah's seeing now?". Sitting in front of your computer is anti-social, not social. Read Farenheit 451. Facebook and others like it are the family on the wall.
Thanks for posting this. I deactivated (I think they do this because they know it's addictive, and that people will jones to return) mine a while ago, after it destroyed my relationship. (I'm in my late 30's by the way. Pathetic.) Now I guess I need to take more steps.

Incognito
Wednesday, March 25th, 2009
Incognito's picture

Duey..Just wondering why the fuck would you stay on facebook just beacuse you want to talk to people that you saw like 10 years ago??...Dude you should seriously get a life and meet some new friends instead of clinging on to the past!...It makes no sense at all!!!!

Incognito
Monday, March 30th, 2009
Incognito's picture

Ah this is the United States of who gives a shit man. I joined facebook nation just like everyone else. Maybe I care about the people I used to know ten years ago? Ever think of that? Caring means sharing. Somebody need a hug?

neminem
Sunday, July 29th, 2007
neminem's picture

One question: why couldn't you just remove all information from your profile, and change its email address to a nonexistent one? They might hold all your current information indefinitely, but I'm quite sure they don't hold backup records of what your information *used* to be, indefinitely.

TheGZeus
Monday, July 30th, 2007
TheGZeus's picture

Dude, no one golfs after a Freemason meeting.
They take place at night, it's tradition. Maybe after a charity breakfast, as they're wont to do...(I was a mason for years. I stopped attending after I took up an agnostic Buddhist view. Not in-line with the oath I took, so I couldn't honestly be a member)

In any case, here's my solution for the time being: I don't do anything online that I wouldn't want the world at large to know. I'm also a firm believer in copyleft, so do what you will with my images, but don't claim it's yours(I have witnesses...)!
If something must be really private, I use coded hints about it and then tell the person IN PERSON or on the phone.
Google is so damned convenient, and overall they do good things. They're not perfect. I did a little research when I saw that they were scanning my email for ads(which I've actually clicked a few times...not that great of stores...), but the policy seems sound.

Facebook always seemed creepy, and some recent stuff I've learned about them confirms that.

stevenmansour
Monday, July 30th, 2007
stevenmansour's picture

I'm quite certain that some people golf after Freemason meetings.

I'm just being dumb.

"Not doing anything online that I wouldn't want the world at large to know" isn't a solution, it's a cop-out. If everyone kept following that we'd be restricting our free speech to the point where we'd be afraid to say anything that offended Facebook or Google.

Re: Google, overall, they do not do good things. Any company that grows to their size and controls as much information that they do needs to be treated with caution. If you want to use their services, feel free. But I find them as 'creepy' as you find Facebook.

Friday, August 3rd, 2007
vieux bandit's picture

I still have no interest in FB (it went from non to less than none!). My stuff is on Flickr and I use Gmail, however... I am slowly learning more about some of these issues, and, well... what solution is there for a non developer? You summed it up beautifully ("Is this really the only choice we have left? Shitty web companies vs. shitty web companies that keep and distribute your personal data ad infinum even when you request your account to be closed?").

My question is, what is someone like me to do? Someone who knows basic html stuff, but no more, someone who is not quite stupid or uninformed, but who has a lot of work to do and a family to care for (ie no extra time)? I can follow instructions, I installed my sql db for my WP blog, etc., but I'm at a loss as to how I could, for example, organize my pics online, allowing for comments and links like Flickr does, without doing everything manually (and at this point, shelling out more dollars for some service is not a possibility) or bugging someone like you 25 times a day -- something I don't enjoy: I want to be able to deal with own shit. I just feel at a loss, like us "ordinary folk" (and sorry I don't include you in this particular ordinariness!) have a choice between bowing out completely or being royally screwed. Y'know? (Hey! The Internet is all grown up: it's turned into the real world! Great...) I would kinda like another option... Thoughts, ideas, redemptions?

Monday, August 13th, 2007
djbob's picture

Haha, nice story. Did you consider just polluting your Facebook so much they get pissed out and delete it for you? I can't imagine them deactivating it, considering that you could then simply reactivate it with a login. On second thought, they might keep your info anyways. 'Teva. PS: What's the issue with people knowing your name and who you're friends with? Unless you are a criminal or a ninja I don't see the point of keeping that info private.

InvisiIncognito
Sunday, January 13th, 2008
InvisiIncognito's picture

Who my friends are is just no one's business. It's just that simple. Is it so wrong to not want the entire world to know who my friends are? How about if I'm not a criminal, but the government thinks I am? (like all these wiretapping stories).

Incognito
Friday, August 17th, 2007
Incognito's picture

Interesting article.

Try also this one. Change your email address in your account settings and delete the old one.

Theoritically you should be able to connect with your new email only. However the old one still works to connect to your account.

This shows how Facebook does not delete any of your personnal details from its database.

stevenmansour
Tuesday, August 28th, 2007
stevenmansour's picture

Yeah, they don't delete any of it from their servers, they just obfuscate it. It's as if they keep 'revisions' of all your old / changed data every time you edit something, which is scary for many other reasons.

facebook boycotter
Monday, August 20th, 2007
facebook boycotter's picture

I boycott facebook;

From day 1 and until it's waning popularity death I will continue to boycott it - although jumped into facebook through my boyfriends account (with his permission) on a curiosity to what the fuss/fad was all about - I was bored after 30 minutes of 'cyber-stalker'-esque urges to check out what people I'd, intentionally, lost contact with were doing.

My boyfriend prior to this found about about the 'deactivation' rather than deletion of the account.

A database is a database is a database - all links and relationships between tables do not need to be removed for deletion to occur in 1 table, namely the user account! so why does it have to be this way for Facebook?

stevenmansour
Tuesday, August 28th, 2007
stevenmansour's picture

Yeah, the whole system is setup in a very creepy (to me, anyway) pyramid scheme-esque (I'm at the top, my friends are below me, and their friends are below them, etc) hierarchy centered around the user. I also find it incredibly boring and not useful.

You're right - there's no technical reason whatsoever to prevent me from deleting my account, so why are they so goddamn keen on keeping one person's account data forever? Your guess is as good as mine, and it's a disturbing thought.

Incognito
Friday, February 20th, 2009
Incognito's picture

hah, The CEO is a 23 year old guy who by the looks of him, was probably picked on a lot in school....As a computer geek, this is probably his way of attaining power and control over all the "jerks" in life, (bwah hahaha). Who but someone who had no social life would create something that enables all the "lurker's/cyber stalkers" out there to see what all the cool kids are really up to! (I'm only sort of joking here) So I'm willing to bet it's more than likely not a "can't" issue, but a "won't" issue from the top down. What's the saying.."Geeks shall inherit the earth!"???

Brian Lee
Sunday, August 26th, 2007
Brian Lee's picture

I've attempted to do as Mudit suggested. I didn't see a delete response, but it seemed tdelete my info anyways. I've asked customer service tp delete all accounts associated with both e-mail (message sent from both as well. I'll keep you posted as to my success or lack thereof ;)

Brian.

Brian Lee
Tuesday, August 28th, 2007
Brian Lee's picture

I just got one now!

-------------------------------

Hi Brian,

Sorry for the delay.  Your account has been deleted.

Thanks for contacting Facebook,

Roy
Customer Support Representative
Facebook

--------------------------------------

I can't log in using either e-mail I used, so it's definitely more than just  "deactivation". Mind, I also sent e-mails to them saying I would post ANYTHING to my page, if they didn't. :)

So, it worked! You guys are great! Thanks for the tips gang!

Brian.

P.S. I just don't get anyone who doesn't care about their privacy. It's the road to totalitarianism. 

fantasy
Tuesday, August 28th, 2007
fantasy's picture

I would also like to know what email you used to contact facebook to have the account deleted. I have tried info@facebook.com...but get an autoreply message. I don't want an auto reply message, I'd like to get hold of some person and have them delete this dumb account. I have already deleted all other information from my account.

Thanks

stevenmansour
Tuesday, August 28th, 2007
stevenmansour's picture

Hi everyone,

Here are the unpublished email addresses I was contacted by from Facebook:

comment-info-rt@facebook.com
privacy@facebook.com
info@facebook.com

Just hit all of them and hopefully someone will get back to you. ;)

fantasy
Wednesday, August 29th, 2007
fantasy's picture

thanks...im still receiving an automated email though. i am hoping someone will respond to me soon. i have been doing this for two or so days now...and have sent several emails. and nothing as yet. how long did you have to wait to get a response??

ali g
Wednesday, September 12th, 2007
ali g's picture

respekt!

canannomus
Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007
canannomus's picture

Howdy gang I recienty joined the gang of folks ttrying to get my account info on facebook removed. I went in and deleted my information thankfully on had it a few months and wasn't that busy. sent them an email asking to remove the account and got this response. Hi Ian, I see that you have deactivated your account. In the future, please feel free to use the 'report' buttons located near most pieces of content on the site to report people or offensive material to Facebook. If you are not able to use the report buttons for any reason, please write to us at info@facebook.com with a link to the person or offensive material and a description of the problem. We will then review this material and take the appropriate action. Of course, these reports will be kept confidential. If you reactivate your account, your profile will be restored in its entirety (friends, photos, interests, etc.). Reactivating the account simply requires that you log in with your email and password. Let me know if you have any further questions. Thanks for contacting Facebook, Diego Customer Support Representative Facebook are they any other steps I should take to getting my info removed peramently I reciently saw reports about third party useage of my info thank god I never filled out my personal info on the site. Our ISP rogers wants us all to go to that flicker thing I won't be using it they got rid of there shared photo section I kinda read their web site privacy and was disgusted.

Count Saint Germain
Monday, October 22nd, 2007
Count Saint Germain's picture

Is it at all possible that people who wish their accounts deleted, have their information saved in the Facebook server archives for the purpose of including these "inactive but saved" profiles in any member count done by the company, in an effort to give inflated membership numbers for the purpose of making Facebook seem to be growing? Facebook has had its' sights set on overtaking Myspace for some time. It is my hypothesis that they keep your accounts in their archives for this exact purpose. Again, just an educated guess. Thoughts or comments anyone?

stevenmansour
Monday, October 22nd, 2007
stevenmansour's picture

That's an interesting hypothesis, but I think they'd get called out on it. Although in the theory they can easily lie about it, and I wouldn't put it past them.

At any rate, if it's the case, it's a 'best' case... :\

Thursday, October 25th, 2007
Magnus's picture

Inspired by your page I decided to "fight" Facebook from the inside, and started a group called "How to permanently delete your facebook account" that is gaining fast in popularity.

More and more people are getting concerned with Facebook's privacy issues.

For everyone still member of the site, here's a link to the group.
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=16929680703

stevenmansour
Thursday, October 25th, 2007
stevenmansour's picture

That's definitely very interesting - and I don't have to bring up the irony of creating a Facebook group for people to leave Facebook. ;)

I'd be curious to see:
a) how many people join this group;
b) if it actually has an effect on people closing their accounts;
c) if it gets shut down by Facebook.

Keep us posted - and maybe post a screenshot of something of the group homepage for those of us who don't have facebook? :)

Wavemaid
Wednesday, November 14th, 2007
Wavemaid's picture

Hi!

Thanks for this post. I plan to follow your footsteps soon, mainly because I dislike FB's privacy policy but also because I'm a bit too addicted to it and it gives me social stress.

Did you have to delete only those wall posts which were on your own wall or also those which you had written on someone else's wall? And what about comments on someone else's pictures, notes and stuff like that - did you have to delete those too? Is there any easy way to even see where you have commented?

stevenmansour
Wednesday, November 14th, 2007
stevenmansour's picture

Hi Wavemaid,

I think I had to delete everything - including things I'd written on other people's walls. I can't quite remember though, and I think that they may have eased up on it since I wrote this article. Try deleting only your own items first, and then writing them. That might work.

Good luck!

Incognito
Wednesday, November 14th, 2007
Incognito's picture

Yes does anyone know what info about you, if any, they store on their servers even after you delete your account? I keep emailing to ask and I keep getting the same "all info is removed from the site after account deletion"

Incognito
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008
Incognito's picture

You raise a really good point. About a month ago, I was having a discussion with a group of friends about Facebook privacy. Among this group of friends are people who know one of the top original developers of Facebook quite well, and others of us have friends working at Google, which is known for its extremely stringent confidentiality policies toward their employees.

It came up in the conversation that Facebook does in fact keep a cache of all deleted info (that you have since removed from your profile, i.e old "versions" of your profile) on their servers, much the way Google Search does.

Furthermore, at that point in time, Facebook and Google were in the middle of talks for Google to buy this cache of old information stored on the Facebook servers from Facebook.

I don't know what became of this. Although I personally did not hear this information from someone directly affiliated with Google or Facebook, I know who my friends' source on the Facebook side is, and I think this source is very reliable. And all this stuff really does freak me out.

Thursday, November 15th, 2007
The Dude's picture

They closed my account in one day, ok that I had already removed all the crap. It has to be considered however, that maybe removing that crap is necessary in order to not to break some of their apps, which may be badly coded. Anyway, I do think the privacy policy of Facebook has an orwellian stench to it. I register with a false name and junk email later, to see how it develops. By the way, I think the estimates of 50 million facebook users widely circulating in the media are exaggerations, the true figure must be way lower, and even form that, all the users who have been "forced" to register by their buddies but who have never logged in since should still be substracted. On the whole, I think that privacy considerations on the whole are a big issue in the internet, but facebook is not the whole face of the devil.

Huevón
Saturday, November 17th, 2007
Huevón's picture

I found the "How to Permanently Delete Your Facebook Account" group on Facebook. I then came to this site. I worked my ass off deleting every piece of information possible, raising my security settings to the highest possible level, changing my name to John Smith and associating a new (created solely for this purpose) E-mail address with the account. I then still E-mailed the above-listed addresses and received a response the next day saying that all of my account information had been deleted.

Oh, and I made my blog private, delted my MySpace, Photobucket and deactivated my YouTube account (YouTube leaves your channel page up and also requires you to delete your videos individually first, but at least they tell you). And just for good measure I'm going to change my E-mail address and delete the old one.

Alan Burlison
Monday, November 19th, 2007
Alan Burlison's picture

It *is* possible to get Facebook to close your account without deleting everything first, see:

http://blogs.sun.com/alanbur/entry/how_to_leave_facebook
http://blogs.sun.com/alanbur/entry/how_to_leave_facebook_followup

stevenmansour
Monday, November 19th, 2007
stevenmansour's picture

Hi Alan,

Yeah, from reading your posts, seems like you did things the right way, as opposed to my whining and moaning. I hope this trend sees increased pressure on Facebook and their ilk to at least match the rest of industry in terms of privacy policy and data management, because now, they're lagging behind pretty bad.

stevenmansour
Saturday, November 24th, 2007
stevenmansour's picture

Yes I did, and it was, as you say, a pyrrhic victory, but worth the price. If all this debate about Facebook's privacy issues eventually forces them to fall in line and give users a way to opt-out of their system, then it was all well worth it. :)

olaf
Sunday, November 25th, 2007
olaf's picture

hey there,
thanks for the "workaround" of how to get rid of your FB account. i will definitely try to wipe out all of my information ever posted on FB.

tho there is one question remaining:
what about the third-party-applications-companies ? who let you install their api by giving them your data...? is your data also erased here ?

cheers

stevenmansour
Sunday, November 25th, 2007
stevenmansour's picture

Hi Olaf,

The 3rd party apps question is a valid one, but also one that I can't answer. I suppose it depends on where and howh these 3rd party apps store their information, which isn't something I know (or am particularly interested in).

Please let us know what your experience is, however.

stevenmansour
Monday, November 26th, 2007
stevenmansour's picture

Hi Arve,

As mentioned previously, the 3 addresses I copied on all my dealings with facebook are:

comment-info-rt@facebook.com
privacy@facebook.com
info@facebook.com

Yeah, they layer their site in such a way that it's supremely difficult to get contact information.

Good luck!

s.

FB ahhh!!!!!
Thursday, November 29th, 2007
FB ahhh!!!!!'s picture

Hello,
I am in the process of trying to delete my facebook account - not just deactivate it but delete everything on it.
I followed the advice of a post on here by 'Fed up with FB' about changing the email addresses.
I did just this and now have a new empty (and now deactivted) account with facebook under my old accounts email address.
Does this now mean that everything is gone off my old account?

I also emailed them to delete this new account and I got an email back saying I could deactivate it. I told them I already had and wanted everything deleted as I will not be returing and hence do not want my information stored.

So, I am wondering if anyone can give me insight into if all the stuff from my old account is really gone now?
Thanks for your help with this. This page has proved to be extremely helpful in my quest.

stevenmansour
Thursday, November 29th, 2007
stevenmansour's picture

Hey there,

I can't testify as to whether or not Facebook really deletes your data using the "empty email" method mentioned in the comments here previously. However, based on Facebook's behavior with this stuff in general, I think it's a safe bet to say that they still kept all your data... somewhere.

At this stage, I think it's safe to say that your best option is to file a complaint with TRUSTe about your problem. If enough of us complain (for legitimate reasons, of course), then it could force Facebook to step back into line with regards to how they treat our personal information.

Hope this helps - good luck!

MarcusBrutus
Saturday, December 1st, 2007
MarcusBrutus's picture

Now what you need to do is re-open your account with the same username and email and see if they "fill in" the blanks and use information from your previous account. Better yet, fire off another email and flat out ask if they have any of your personal information still on their servers.

Incognito
Monday, December 3rd, 2007
Incognito's picture

I was able to get my account completely deleted (without actually having to remove anything manually) by e-mailing privacy@facebook.com, telling them that I planned to violate the terms of service by eg uploading bestiality. Now when I try to sign in I get the following message:

Incorrect email/password combination.
Facebook passwords are case sensitive. Please check your CAPS lock key.

I'm sure they keep a record of my crap somewhere. Which is really disturbing.

Anonymous
Thursday, December 6th, 2007
Anonymous's picture

Hey thanks guys, the e-mail switching trick mentioned here finally got my facebook account deleted! I left them this message as I deactivated my fake account:

I made this account to make my other account get deleted. Feel free to delete this account too since I'm not coming back. I got nothing good out of this place (just some shallow contact with "friends" I have better ways to communicate with than using this site); also I'm tired of all the shitloads of utterly useless group/applications invitations, those things spread like cancer, I would get tons of those every day, even when I blocked the damn things. So yeah I have nothing useful to do here and I don't think anyone else does really, good riddance and have fun making further use out of our shitty society's collective stupidity

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