Facebook complaint to TRUSTe update

I've just gotten back an email from TRUSTe regarding my complaint about the inability to fully close a Facebook account:

Dear Steven Mansour,

Thank you for submitting your privacy complaint through the TRUSTe Watchdog Dispute Resolution program. The TRUSTe Compliance Team has reviewed the details of your complaint and we have determined that it is a valid privacy complaint. We have contacted www.facebook.com on your behalf and have outlined the steps necessary for proper resolution.

Because you gave permission for the site to contact you directly, please be advised that you may receive emails directly from the site regarding resolution of your Watchdog complaint. [...]

That's great news for all of us who've been concerned about Facebook's stubborn - and Orwellian - refusal to voluntarily close user accounts when specifically asked to. Let's see how Facebook responds.


Tuesday, December 4th, 2007
Incognito's picture

I did the same thing. However facebook sent me another canned message "in order to delete your account remove everything manually...blah..blah...blah..."

Still no resolution.

Disappointing to say the least, even considering the fact I specifically chose on the TrustE form NOT to have facebook contact me directly. :/

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007
Incognito's picture

Yay resolved! :)

Dear Incognito:

Thank you for the recent Watchdog you submitted against www.facebook.com. The Web site has cooperated with TRUSTe and has responded to your complaint below.

We are therefore closing this Watchdog. If you feel that this matter should not be closed because there is still an unresolved issue within the scope of TRUSTe's program and you would like to appeal our decision, please submit your appeal via email to appeals@truste.org. Note: please use the subject line on this message to ensure your request can be processed properly. To learn more about the appeals process please visit http://truste.org/consumers/compliance.php

TRUSTe appreciates your interest in privacy and we value input from consumers like you. Participation from Internet users like you, make it possible for us to continue to provide an effective privacy program for the Internet community. If you would like to receive the TRUSTe Privacy Watchdog newsletter, which includes definitions, alerts and protective measures you can take to feel more confident online, please sign up on http://www.truste.org/consumers/index.php.

In order to better serve you we would ask that you please take 2 minutes to fill out our Watchdog Customer Satisfaction survey. Your information will be aggregated and kept confidential. This survey and all its questions are voluntary. Please view and answer the survey at http://www.truste.org/polls/wd_consumer.html.


TRUSTe Compliance Team

Friday, December 21st, 2007
m's picture

This didn't work for me. After I got the e-mail from TRUSTe acknowledging that this was a valid privacy concern, I just got another e-mail from Facebook with more of the same, with some cynical "we do this so you have full control:"

"Unfortunately, since the information and content you upload is often stored
in many different places, there's no easy way to remove it all at once.
Keep in mind, however, that Facebook will never use your information as long
as your account is deactivated. In addition, as your account remains
inactive, this information will eventually be overwritten by other active
users' information.

We require users to delete this information themselves so that they have
complete control over what gets removed. If you still want your account
cleared, please log in and delete any content or information you don't want
stored before deactivating. Once you've done this, let us know, and we'll
remove your login email from our system. We apologize for any inconvenience
this may cause."

Then an e-mail from TRUSTe: "Thank you for the recent Watchdog you submitted against www.facebook.com. The
Web site has cooperated with TRUSTe and has responded to your complaint below.
We are therefore closing this Watchdog. [...]"

Well, maybe they cooperated with TRUSTe; certainly they didn't cooperate with me.

Friday, December 21st, 2007
m's picture

Facebook wrote in their reply to my watchdog complaint that they are unable to delete my account all at once (see last comment).

This seems to be not true, see here: http://blogs.sun.com/alanbur/entry/how_to_leave_facebook
This guy seems to have had success in getting them to delete a non-empty account.

So I've just filed an appeal with TRUSTe (must be within 10 days) quoting this example and that Facebook are obviously not telling the truth.

Anyone had any success taking the TRUSTe route?

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