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Facebook A Black Hole For Personal Info 242

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times has an article on how Facebook is so sticky it is nearly impossible to get loose. While the Web site offers users the option to deactivate their accounts, Facebook servers keep copies of the information in those accounts indefinitely. Many users who have contacted Facebook to request that their accounts be deleted have not succeeded in erasing their records from the network. 'It's like the Hotel California,' said Nipon Das, a user who tried unsuccessfully to delete his account. 'You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.' It took Mr. Das two months and several e-mail exchanges with Facebook's customer service representatives to erase most of his information from the site, which finally occurred after he sent an e-mail threatening legal action. But even after that, a reporter was able to find Mr. Das's empty profile on Facebook and successfully sent him an e-mail message through the network. Facebook's quiet archiving of information from deactivated accounts has increased concerns about the network's potential abuse of private data, especially in the wake of its fumbled Beacon advertising feature."
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Facebook A Black Hole For Personal Info

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  • by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @10:32AM (#22391748)
    The Facebook Terms of Service can be found here [].

    Here is an interesting excerpt:

    When you post User Content to the Site, you authorize and direct us to make such copies thereof as we deem necessary in order to facilitate the posting and storage of the User Content on the Site. By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose, commercial, advertising, or otherwise, on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing. You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content. Facebook does not assert any ownership over your User Content; rather, as between us and you, subject to the rights granted to us in these Terms, you retain full ownership of all of your User Content and any intellectual property rights or other proprietary rights associated with your User Content.
  • This Just In! (Score:2, Informative)

    by n6kuy ( 172098 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @10:38AM (#22391832)
    Information posted on The Internet is persistent!

  • FINALLY! (Score:5, Informative)

    by kellyb9 ( 954229 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @10:40AM (#22391856)
    Finally, someone semi-credible has done a story about this. It's really about time. I've done just about everything to rid myself of their evil clutchs, but I have to go through thousands of records myself and delete everything. It would take an entire day to totally rid myself of facebook, and truth be told, I know my info would still be stored somewhere. When I wanted out of MySpace, I went in and pushed a button that said "delete account". If Facebook would just give me access to their databases, I'm sure I can get rid of my information in 10 minutes... and probably just about everything else. One word - EVIL.
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @11:30AM (#22392460) Homepage
    Perhaps you have your slashdot account so compartmentalized from everything else that it doesn't matter to you, but it doesn't really take much to somewhere, somehow link it with your real identity. I know that somewhere in those 6000 comments I've probably made a lot of references that possibly when put together could be enough to ID me. Conversely, some of the people in real life knows my slashdot ID and if they open the door on that end it all gets pinned on me. And that doesn't take into account all the people that have already willingly linked their slashdot ID to a real life persona. So I think there's plenty good reason to want to delete a slashdot account, if I was starting to get rich and famous I'd want to delete mine just in case.
  • by JCSoRocks ( 1142053 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @01:06PM (#22393796)
    Anyone who posts gobs of personal information online and then complains about privacy is an idiot. Perhaps those same people would be interested in this money making scheme I have.... Seriously, I have always avoided MySpace, FaceBook, insert social network here, for that very reason. I don't even use my real name on public e-mail accounts and messaging programs (AIM, MSN, Hotmail, etc). The Internet is *not* private. It's a giant billboard in the middle of freaking Times Square. If you put your personal info up there, anyone can walk by and see it.

    I'm not sure why people are so surprised to find out that FaceBook doesn't care. This just in - those social networks don't actually exist for *your* benefit. They are there to make money (although their business plans are sometimes a bit dubious...).
  • A Black Hole? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Arancaytar ( 966377 ) <> on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @01:39PM (#22394202) Homepage
    So all private information remains safely trapped inside it? That's good, right?

    ( =P )
  • Solution: Fake info (Score:2, Informative)

    by Capeman ( 589717 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @02:36PM (#22395006)
    If they don't delete your profile, just fill it with fake info...

What is research but a blind date with knowledge? -- Will Harvey