Thursday, June 16, 2011

How to delete your profile from Facebook

I've done multiple U-turns!
  • First I started to use Facebook (though not very successfully - most people didn't understand my jokes!)
  • Next I 'committed Facebook suicide'
  • Then I re-engaged with Facebook once more. (But I'm still not really 'getting' it and don't spend much time there at all.)
Recently I was asked how to disengage from Facebook. I realized that I hadn't actually noted down the process so here it is, though the important thing to observe is that Facebook naturally doesn't make this very easy: they want to keep you and your data!
  1. First I un-tagged myself from all photos; and deleted each photo one by one; then deleted all comments on my wall and (where I could find them) comments I'd written on others' - However, bear in mind that Facebook Terms say that they will seek to protect the 'experience' that other Facebook users have. This means that it's probably only your access to your photos that gets removed. If others have seen, commented or been tagged in those pictures then they'll still have access to 'preserve their experience' of Facebook.
  2. Next I removed each friend connection, one by one ... You get the idea! Excruciating, and when you finally get to de-activate and delete your account, it all gets restored if you ever log back in again in the next couple of weeks!

    Worse, I recently had to sign back on to Facebook so I could manage a company page and, when I did, it "magically" suggested all my old friends so they'd clearly not deleted all they knew about me!
Remember: in practice, Facebook doesn't necessarily delete your stuff even when you tell it to: their Terms and Conditions give them ownership of what you upload so they can still serve up a photo, say, to a friend tagged in it, even if it was your photo to start with!

Here's a useful and very detailed set of resources on what to do. (Might need a strong drink of cocoa to get through the process!)

And there's a magazine piece this week in The Guardian about it, too.
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