I just read a long post by Steven Mansour on his website where he described how he tried to close down his account on Facebook. He still received numerous emails from Facebook after using the so called "Account deactivation" feature which made him wonder if his account was really gone from their system.
It turned out that deactivation really meant that his account was put on ice and that he would be able to activate it again. This makes me wonder why they would send emails to a deactivated account but that is another story.
He contacted Facebook support only to find out that they would only delete the account if he removed everything that he did and that left traces at Facebook.
This basically meant that he had to delete every single minifeed item, friend, post, wall writing and all the other traces by hand to make them close his account. This sounds pretty ridiculous to me and lays the burden solely on the user. He found out that there was no other way and did what they requested which finally made them remove his account completely from Facebook.
I do share some of the feelings that Steven has about his personal data on the web. It becomes more and more apparent that everyone wants to know as much as possible about you to be able to make the most profit with that information. Just search for "Steven Mansour" (or any other name) on Google to find out lots of information about him.
I try to use nicknames - different ones - on sites that I use and try to avoid using my real name. I just don't want someone to be able to find out "things" about me that I do not want them to know. I don't want my boss - or next company - to make decisions about my future based on what they can find out about me on the Internet.
What is your stance?
Update: Facebook has improved the process. All you need to do now is to visit the Delete Account page on Facebook and hit the button on that page to start the process.
Please note that it may take up to 90 days to remove all your data from the site. This includes things you have posted or uploaded, liked or shared on Facebook as well as data on backup servers.
Additional information about deleting your account on Facebook are provided on this help page on Facebook.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.