I held off writing this until I had actually done the deed. And I kept put off doing the deed because I knew it would be mind numbingly boring and time consuming for reasons I’ll elaborate on in a sec. But it is done, my Facebook profile is all deleted.
At first, they only let me “deactivate” my account, which is kinda like limbo for your profile. This means all your data is still there, and people can still invite you to stuff and tag you in photos, but no one can actually see your profile. And you can pretty easily re-activate it too, all you gotta do is log in. So I emailed some generic Facebook email and told them I wanted to delete my account. Guess what they told me. “Peter from Facebook*” said that if you want to actually delete your profile, you have to go in and manually delete every single bit of “profile content” by hand. I emailed Peter back and asked what exactly counted as profile content. Surprisingly, I got no reply (they love to make it easy, don’t they). But according to Canadian blogger Steven Mansour’s similar experience (he got Lucy from Facebook as his helpful helper), it means every note, every wall post, every friend, every group. Everything. For anyone who has used Facebook for a while, this would take many hours of fun to accomplish. It took me just under four hours, sitting there clicking delete delete delete. It also didn’t help that their software seems to get a bit screwy when you delete a lot of stuff fast. At one point I had left a bunch of groups, but it still had me listed as a member, but wouldn’t let me leave again because I wasn’t a member. Once you’ve had your hours of fun, you have to email Facebook again and ask them nicely to delete your accoun. I thought all of this was an insane requirement, so I emailed our friend Facebook Peter. The reply:
“We ask that users remove their own content so that you can be assured that this information has been cleared before we delete your
Right. A bunch of geeks who make one of the most popular SNSes can’t figure out a way to do a mass delete of my user data.
You know what’s ironic? I wasn’t seriously thinking about deleting my account until I got that email back from Peter and discovered how next to impossible Facebook has made the process.
*Anyone else notice that we speak of Facebook as an entity that has its own agency, rather than as a company with a bunch of people behind it? They sure do a good job of reinforcing that notion by making me interact with some guy who is from Facebook, rather than having a last name. Such a tired comparison, but it is totally like Big Brother. We don’t question what the Facebook people do, because Facebook isn’t people, it’s a neutral machine that just is.