A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To Deleting Facebook

I couldn’t.

Well, technically, I couldn’t “delete” it, but I was able to “deactivate” it, making me think that Facebook owns the past decade of my presence on its platform for perpetuity.

According to its notification to me, the deactivation merely disabled my profile and removed my name and photo from most of the things I’ve shared on Facebook.

“Some information may still be visible to others, such as your name in their friends list and messages you sent.”

Not exactly a right to be forgotten.

The second funny thing that happened was the reactions of my Facebook friends when I posted a notice saying I was about to delete my account, but letting them know there still are plenty of ways to find me, share things with me, or actually be my friend -- you know, in the real world. They seemed upset -- even those who gave me kudos, and said they were “this close” to doing the same.



But when I asked them why they weren’t deleting Facebook, the answer was that they were afraid to.

Specifically, they feared that if they left Facebook, they would become disconnected from the world, and people wouldn’t be able to find them.

I have no idea how pervasive that sentiment is. But I’m going to guess that those friends who articulated that concern are actually among the savvier media consumers in the world.

So if they’re worried about being cut off from the Facebook spigot, then I’m thinking Facebook has nothing to worry about, despite the recent bashing of its stock price.

As we all know, fear is a big motivator in human behavior. If we don’t have a really good reason to change, fear will keep us doing something.

Despite the downside of having their data and privacy misused and abused, despite the fact that Facebook monetizes them, and despite the fact that its collective force has done more bad than good in recent years, people simply see more downside than upside in leaving Facebook.

I don’t know what it would take to change that feeling. If Facebook’s emotional experiments didn’t do that, and if the breach of 50 million Facebook users’ data didn’t do it, I’d say most investors would be confident in staying long on Facebook stock.

2 comments about "A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To Deleting Facebook".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, March 26, 2018 at 10:26 a.m.

    I think The Onion summed it best, that the loss of private data is worth watching Zuckerberg squirm in his pretentious gray t-shirt. Facebook is the only way I can reach most of my old classmates and other friends/family. There are substitutes for their reaching me but no real substitute for my reaching them.

  2. Anne Zeiser from Azure Media, March 26, 2018 at 10:56 a.m.

    I wonder whether we "own" our own data history. Could someone sue to have that data wiped out?

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