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Facebook Adds Delete Account Option 249

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the and-stay-out dept.
roseability writes "Facebook have quietly added the ability to delete you account. 'Deactivate Account', under Account Setting, has become 'Deactivate or Delete Account', and when checked it purports to permanently delete your account and all information you have shared. Facebook is actually willing to erase your data permanently? They must be counting on very few people doing so." Mixed reports on this: perhaps this is a limited test?
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Facebook Adds Delete Account Option

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 26, 2010 @09:02AM (#33028532)

    Well that took long enough. Real life's had this ever since cyanide.

    • by larry bagina (561269) on Monday July 26, 2010 @09:23AM (#33028770) Journal
      where is slashdot's delete account button?
      • by KiloByte (825081) on Monday July 26, 2010 @09:59AM (#33029234)

        There is absolutely nothing you would gain from deleting a slashdot account.

        Your posts would not be deleted, as no other post is ever deleted without a grounded Cease&Desist or similar legal reason, your journal is public info as well. The only removable thing is your user description, which can be replaced with an empty string at a whim.

        Facebook accounts, on the other hand, nearly by definition contain slews of personal data.

        It's like a public mailing list vs private mail.

        • by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Monday July 26, 2010 @10:45AM (#33029874) Journal

          There is absolutely nothing you would gain from deleting a slashdot account.

          Your posts would not be deleted, as no other post is ever deleted without a grounded Cease&Desist or similar legal reason, your journal is public info as well. The only removable thing is your user description, which can be replaced with an empty string at a whim.

          Thank you for the detailed opinion as to why you, personally, would have nothing to gain by deleting your own account on Slashdot.

          But please realize that the fact that it's always been that way on Slashdot does not mean that it should be that way, and that others may have a different opinion than you.

          I've been here a long time. There is far more personal detail about me on Slashdot than my Facebook page is likely ever to contain. Mostly, this is because I'm pseudo-anonymous here. I don't think I have enough publicly-available information on Slashdot that someone can pin my pseudonym down to who I really am, but it would doubtlessly be rather easy to do given access to Slashdot's non-public data.

          Thankfully, Rob Malda, along with his handlers and peons, have over the years earned my trust that they will treat my non-public data with a reasonable amount of respect.

          When the day comes that I feel like my trust has the potential to be violated, I want a button that says "Delete this account and everything associated with it," and I want it to work, at least within the confines of Slashdot. I expect this, in particular, from an organization such as Slashdot which has sometimes daily postings about privacy [slashdot.org] and abuses thereof.

          I don't care if such a button is rendered somewhat meaningless [archive.org] by other web sites. I just want Slashdot to do the right thing and nuke my stuff on request, just like the editors here clearly expect everyone else to do.

          Meanwhile, look down at the bottom of this very page. See the line that says Comments are owned by the Poster? That, too.

          • by CraftyJack (1031736) on Monday July 26, 2010 @12:48PM (#33032268)

            Thankfully, Rob Malda, along with his handlers and peons, have over the years earned my trust that they will treat my non-public data with a reasonable amount of respect. When the day comes that I feel like my trust has the potential to be violated, I want a button that says "Delete this account and everything associated with it," and I want it to work, at least within the confines of Slashdot.

            Especially if some social networking site was to buy Slashdot and then helpfully combine your profiles based on matching email addresses.

    • I think real life has had this since gravity. Maybe cyanide came first, hard to tell.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by morgauxo (974071)
      Not really. Cyanide is no guarantee that your body won't get stuffed and put on display in a museum for generations to look at.
  • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday July 26, 2010 @09:05AM (#33028568)
    The TOS say they can keep it, perhaps this just deletes your login and deactivates your account
  • A strange game... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bhunachchicken (834243) on Monday July 26, 2010 @09:05AM (#33028574) Homepage

    ... the only winning move is not to play.

  • by blcamp (211756) on Monday July 26, 2010 @09:07AM (#33028600) Homepage

    Even if it's truly deleted, I'll bet the data is out there in an archive somewhere.

    • Right. And even if my account is deleted you could still find traces of me in my friends' pictures, old posts, etc. I imagine the delete account button will just stop gathering new data about you.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Inda (580031)
      That's not always true though. In the UK, you can quote the data protection act and request that someone qualified deletes all data relating to yourself.

      I've done it many times, normally after they've pissed me off and caused me to waste some of my time. Tell them that an administrator is not qualified, and clicking a 'delete' button is not enough. Offsite backups deleted too.

      Maybe they do and maybe they don't. There would be fun and games if they contacted me in the future.
      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        The Data Protection Act allows organisations to keep data about you even without your consent if it is necessary for their business. A good example would be credit agencies - if they had to delete data on request it would be easy to wipe your history clean and people with a history of defaulting on debts would be able to clear the slate any time they wanted to. Banks also need to keep records for (IIRC) 6 years to meet legal requirements etc.

        You can request a copy of all information held about you and that

  • by FictionPimp (712802) on Monday July 26, 2010 @09:08AM (#33028610) Homepage

    They have always had an option to delete your account or deactivate. They just made finding the delete function easier now.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by etnoy (664495)
      The parent is somewhat correct; the delete option has existed for a long time, though it has been extremely well-hidden. I would describe it as a hack. When I deleted my account in early 2008, I had to create a new fake account and "overwrite" the e-mail of the old one. Everything I had done vanished, including all my messages in groups and on other people's "walls". There's a better explanation of the procedure here [omskakas.se].
  • by Anonymous Coward

    typedef DeactivateAccount DeleteAccount;

  • by sarkeizen (106737) on Monday July 26, 2010 @09:10AM (#33028628) Journal
    Our one friend who killed herself's account. That would be nice. Having her profile continually show up with the "you haven't talked to X in a while send them a message and reconnect with them" box. Doesn't actually make facebook win any sensitivity awards in my book.
  • For sure...I am not into Facebook and do not yet see the reason why I should join it. Connection to me and vice versa can be done using traditional means especially email.

    Most importantly, many times, I just need to be left alone by especially by those from my past.

    I believe most of the 500,000,000 folks on Facebook are not doing anything useful on the site. Most of those accounts are just 'feel good accounts'. Right?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chrisq (894406)

      Connection to me and vice versa can be done using traditional means especially email.

      Oh the nativity of youth. When email becomes a traditional communication I know I'm getting old.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by BVis (267028)

        Sorry, can't let this one go. "Naivete"

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by mjm1231 (751545)

          Well, in fairness, most people are quite youthful at the time of their nativity.

      • by dingen (958134)
        If you really think e-mail isn't a traditional form of communcation, you are in fact old. In fact, only old people think of e-mail as a form of communication at all. Back in 2007, Slashdot ran an article [slashdot.org] saying that teenagers are only using e-mail to get in touch with old people, but aren't using it to communicating with each other at all.
        • by AHuxley (892839)
          Yes if you watch tv now, it was all 'find us on the web" now its facebook, twitter ect.
        • by Chrisq (894406)

          If you really think e-mail isn't a traditional form of communcation, you are in fact old.

          I rather suspect you are mixing up traditional with obsolescent or obsolete.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by VisiX (765225)
      I have recently signed up for facebook because my friends stopped calling and texting people and just started posting "I'll be at blah blah blah at 8pm tonight, come along". I was missing out on a lot of fun things I could possibly be doing because I didn't have an account, so now I have one.
      • by vlm (69642) on Monday July 26, 2010 @09:31AM (#33028854)

        I have recently signed up for facebook because my friends stopped calling and texting people and just started posting "I'll be at blah blah blah at 8pm tonight, come along". I was missing out on a lot of fun things I could possibly be doing because I didn't have an account, so now I have one.

        That's the same reason I deleted mine. Kid whom sat at the same lunch table as me in 8th grade posted every single time he entered or left a restaurant or bar (kind of like a manual foursquare). I guess I could go alone, unfortunately he now lives almost 3000 miles away. Dude I worked with a decade ago posts every time he goes to the gym, for motivation, I guess. I guess I could go along, unfortunately he lives 200 miles away. Same deal with the guy who was my high school physics lab partner, now living about 100 miles away.

        When I got rid of all the pseudo-spammers and ignored all my far away "old friends" there wasn't really enough left to bother keeping the account... So I used this "new" feature in May to delete it, and nobody seems to care except my wife.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          So hide him.

          If he ever decides to send you a message, write on your wall, or comment on one of your posts, you’d see it. In the meantime, you don’t have to read all of his dumb status updates. Just click the convenient Hide button and tell it to hide him from your news feed.

          Sheesh some people make things so difficult.

        • Good advice from a facebook friend, whom I promptly hid.

    • For sure...I am not into Facebook and do not yet see the reason why I should join it. Connection to me and vice versa can be done using traditional means especially email.

      And 15 years ago someone would have been asking why he needed email, when he can use traditional forms of connection such as the telephone and the postal service.

      Back in the 1980s, when we used to use paper memos to send information around the company rather then email, I remember there was a woman in the office that used a computer to pre

      • by vlm (69642)

        But some see maintaining a social network is something they can improve on using a tool specifically designed for the job.

        Tool designed specifically to sell your personal information to marketing / pr / HR / credit score companies / Big Brother / "who knows, but it sure won't be to your benefit".

        Also, lets face it, facebook is pretty much software support for inane and stupid stuff. Its "friends" in that your friends suffer thru with you, like going to Basic Training together.

  • by ad0n (1171681) on Monday July 26, 2010 @09:17AM (#33028708)
    i just "re-activated" my long deactivated account in the hopes of "deleting" it finally. i only had the de-activate option.. no delete available on my screen.
    • by bogaboga (793279)

      Was there anything positive you got from joining Facebook...or did joining further 'complicate' your life?

      • by FictionPimp (712802) on Monday July 26, 2010 @09:43AM (#33029004) Homepage

        Positives: I got to touch base with high school friends, I got used it to organize some parties.

        Negatives: I got to touch base with high school friends, It was impossible to sort though all the crap that came in, I was constantly ignoring this and that, I started unfriending people who posted too much shit to get shit from them for unfriending them. It started arguments with my family when I didn't want to friend them or I friended them and ignored them. I lost real life friends because facebook allowed me to learn more about their personalities then I ever really wanted to know. I got into real life arguments because I didn't check or respond to a facebook status.

        Conclusion: I'm not 12, and if I'm not important enough to at least call on the phone, then I guess we really are not 'friends'.

        Replacement options: Google Calendar for organizing parties, twitter for posting my useless comments no one cares about, and phone, email, texting for the rest.

        • by Posting=!Working (197779) on Monday July 26, 2010 @10:24AM (#33029536)

          You may not be 12, but it sounds like your friends act like they are, and some of your family.

          I have plenty of real friends who I ignore on FB, and I tell them about it. They don't mind because they're my friends. I have real life friends and family who I won't friend on FB, but I tell them why, and it doesn't affect our relationship. I hide everyone's feed that updates 3 times a day, and those whose posts are trivial daily activities ("Driving home," "Eating dinner with wife and kids," etc,) or that I just don't want a daily/weekly update about. I don't "like" anything since they changed the info section into mindless lists. I don't even "like" the band I play in. I block my status updates from some. I ignore posts to my wall frequently, and delete everyone else's posts to my wall from time to time. None of this has affected any of my real life relationships.

          It's just facebook, it doesn't really matter. If you keep that attitude, people will accept it. If they can't or won't, they probably aren't the kind of person you'd want as a friend. Or at least that I'd want as a friend.

    • by Goaway (82658) on Monday July 26, 2010 @09:44AM (#33029034) Homepage

      I did the exact same thing, and got the same result. However, I recalled hearing that the option has existed for some time already, and has just been very well hidden.

      I looked it up, and the trick is to go to this address:

      http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=delete_account [facebook.com]

  • It's the start of forgetting!
  • by PalmKiller (174161) on Monday July 26, 2010 @09:39AM (#33028960) Homepage
    You have always been able to go here to delete your facebook account which was easy to find in google http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=delete_account [facebook.com] They have only made it simpler for those who take things at face value (pun intended).
  • Had this long ago (Score:3, Informative)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Monday July 26, 2010 @09:43AM (#33029008) Homepage

    They have had this option to delete accounts for years now.
    I even used it like 4 years ago.

    Maybe they just moved the button that starts the process?

  • How does someone who owns data prove that he has deleted every copy of it?

    • Good point - you can never know if someone has destroyed all copies of your personal information. You just have to take the word of the company and its leaders that they have complied with your request. Luckily for Facebook, Mark Zuckerburg is one of the most trustworthy people in the technology sector.
  • by Posting=!Working (197779) on Monday July 26, 2010 @10:35AM (#33029708)

    One of Facebook's options is to keep all the status updates and pictures for 10-20 years, then republish everything. For a "deletion fee", they will keep all your high school and college pictures, raunchy status updates, and other potentially embarrassing information off the internet. Most wouldn't care, but I'm sure there's plenty who want a high profile job that would pay dearly to keep that hidden.

    AFAIK, it's completely legal, and already impossible to stop, they own the data and you (or someone you know) voluntarily published it once. It's pretty likely that they'll be replaced by the next big social media site or at least won't be doing nearly as well financially in 10-20 years as they are now, if they still exist. And if they go bankrupt, anyone could buy the data and do the same thing.

    I don't think it's likely, but it is possible.

    • by mlts (1038732) *

      I'd probably say it is almost definitely will happen. Remember: There are no criminal laws against data loss in the US, only civil, unless the data is classified+. So, a place can file bankruptcy, someone else can buy the stored data and do what they want with it, and there will be zero legal recourse possible.

      What is needed are data retention laws that people face jail/prison terms. Then, we might see some action. Otherwise, expect those photos of lighting farts in high school to haunt people even whe

    • AFAIK, it's completely legal, and already impossible to stop, they own the data and you (or someone you know) voluntarily published it once.

      It's too bad there aren't laws against blackmail and extortion.

      • They don't cover pictures that you published of yourself in the past, and that you freely gave up to facebook. All they are doing is what you gave them the legal right to do, and even asked them to do. They could argue that they have to verify that you really are who you say you are, and this costs them to do so, so they charge a fee to do it.

        You can't keep a newspaper from republishing a picture you gave to them to publish, but they might not run it if you pay for advertisements in the same paper.

  • Facebook have quietly added the ability to delete you account

    Did it come at the expense of the ability to grammar check their own news releases? I did not know that good grammar and common sense were mutually exclusive.

  • by mevets (322601)

    for the pointer, it seemed to work, although they insist on keeping it a zombie for two weeks so I can re-activate it.

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