Evidently, Facebook owns me

Once in Facebook, you can’t really get out of Facebook. Yes, perhaps I should have read the Terms and Conditions more closely, but not many people even skim those, let alone read them.

You can never really leave Facebook. They own your data.
I ‘deactivated’ my Facebook account. They do not offer a ‘delete account’ option. Click to enlarge the above picture to see what you’re faced with when trying to leave. If you haven’t already seen the video I linked to in the previous post, you should. I am not paranoid, but I am also not stupid*. There are very powerful people involved with Facebook. Something sinister is going on and I don’t like it. I linked to the video in my ‘Other’ reasons for leaving (deactivating) my account. I also requested that they delete my data from their database. I’m certain they won’t.

Fortunately, the profile information I had input was minimal. Nothing too revealing or specific, but I’m sure it’s valuable to the third-party information buyers and other end-users anyway.

It’s far too easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new network or web technology without looking under the hood to see what’s truly going on. I’m sure my data is all over the place anyway, but it doesn’t mean I’m particularly thrilled about it. It’s almost as if we’ve entered an era where we’ve all filled out so many online forms that there’s no point in worrying about what’s happening with that information. We will all nod and type away without questioning things anymore. Remember when you wouldn’t give up your birthday or even your last name unless the service was your bank or other (hopefully) highly secure service? Now, loads of Web 2.0 startups have your details right down to Mother’s maiden name and saved credit card details. We leave our virtual doors unlocked at night and don’t seem to notice the wolves on the lawn.

There is no such thing as privacy anymore and pretty much every company has the potential to do evil. I just cut my ties (as best as I could) with one of them.

*So why, oh why did I sign up in the first place?

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22 thoughts on “Evidently, Facebook owns me”

  1. It will be interesting to see what reaction/responce you receive from them. Just watch out for strange black vans park outside your home ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. I think you’re right Jen to draw people’s attentions to privacy issues on the internet and I also think Facebook is the most cleverly designed of all the social networks I’ve joined.

    I have no urge or desire particularly to keep up to date in LinkedIn or MySpace or Soflow or Xing or Ecademy (see what I mean!), but Facebook has mastered the art of ‘social proof’ i.e. a combination of peer pressure and guilt ๐Ÿ™‚

    All that said, despite having watched the video you posted earlier, Facebook’s t&cs are pretty bog standard. I’m sure Podshow’s are similar. Ultimately we are in control of the release of our own data on a platform like Facebook. Arguably we have more control there, than we do with our search data every time we use Google – which arguably is a lot more revealing than about the real us than the kind of playful social posturing most present on Facebook.

    Sorry … I should have posted this as a blog post, not in your comments!

  3. @Martin: Thanks for feeding my paranoia, man… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    @Alex: Actually, only part of what Facebook is doing is bog standard. Neil (who is intimately involved with Podshow’s T&Cs) was mouth open at what Facebook is pulling. They are not playing the same game as other networks…

    And I don’t mind your long comment Alex; you’re welcome round these parts anytime. x ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. For me it’s not the t&c’s which are uncomfortable, it’s the direct upward connections of those involved at the top of the Facebook organisation. I’m not one to get scared easily online – I mean, I’m not exactly hidden away in a corner of the interweb somewhere! – but I had a very negative, and perhaps at the time slightly irrational gut feeling about Facebook the very first time I took a look inside. It felt wrong on many levels.
    Having never been one to entirely succumb to lemming-pressure, I’m sure Facebook’s personal information Dyson can survive without my inside leg measurement.

  5. @Rachel: Love the Hotel California reference! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Quoting a bit of the response I left on your post:

    Yes, most T&Cs are similar, but Facebook seems to push it all a bit further and with some really powerful figures at the helm. […] I’m […] fairly transparent as far as my web life goes (no fake names, home address pretty easily obtained), but the Facebook thing smacks of scary Sci-Fi/thriller plot… it’s odd and also goes against the openness the social web was achieving. Shame that.

  6. @Martin: Thanks for feeding my paranoia, manโ€šร„รถ?ร‘ยฌ?

    You’re not paranoid Jen …but I can’t say the same for that chap who’s watching you ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. ok, so how the heck do i delete my account!? ive been trying and desperatly wanting to since my friend made an account in my name without my consent, yet i cant seem to figue out how i can delete my account.

  8. Hi Kayla – last I checked, you couldn’t delete your account, only ‘deactivate.’ Sorry- I know that’s not good news…

  9. I just poked around the site till I found it. It’s probably in your Account or Profile page. Click on the picture in my blog post to get a better idea. You’ll have to forgive me, but I’m not reactivating my own account to find out more. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Good luck and tell your friends that what they did was a form of identity fraud. Not cool.

  10. okay, thanks ill have to take a good amount of time to really look close. i appreaciate the help!

  11. You CAN delete your facebook account – by emailing the tech support and requesting it to be done. They will ask *you* to first delete โ€šร„รถ?ร‘??all profile contentโ€šร„รถ?ร‘?? and then email them again about it. So itโ€šร„รถ?ร‘?ยฅs not as easy as it should be, but can be done.

  12. Hello Mervi! Welcome!

    I had not heard of this tactic before your comment. I may give it a go. I still don’t trust Facebook, but it’s a start.

    Thank you! ๐Ÿ˜€

  13. Hi, I found this by googling something like ‘how do I delete my facebook account’. It is correct that as it currently stands, you have to contact facebook and inform them that you would like your account deleted. (I don’t think there is an email, you go to help, then ‘other’ and then you can send them a message) I did this, and then it occurred to me to just delete all my friends, all the info from my profile, my photo albums, notes, posted items, wall posts etc. all of it, and I also changed my email address to an old one that I don’t really use. I then selected ‘Deactivate my account’. So the only info left on their servers (if any) is a false name and old email addy. This took a little while to do, so maybe asking facebook to just delete it from their servers is more convenient, but just thought I’d let you know another way of leaving facebook anyway – hope it helps.

  14. Hi Marianne, those actions may not delete/replace previously provided info unless the scripts were written that way, could just add to the existing info they’ve stored about your account.

    Scarily I was just reading an article on how Facebook only slightly altered their practices to stop publicly publishing surfing activities but are still tracking site activity with Beacon. I read this on Google this a.m., surfed around to get more info, went back to the Google news area and those stories vanished to be replaced by the earlier accounts that the Beacon issue was taken care of. You can still find the warning article on PCWorld.com about Facebook’s Beacon.

    Curious if there is any confirmation about the account being deleted? Do they have it in writing that they will actually purge their logs of your info upon request? Otherwise, it’s just a request.

    If you have a PC and use FireFox you can download the extension BlockSite and set it to block http://www.facebook.com/beacon. Facebook collects info even when you’re signed off your account. Using a filter like this is a best bet to retain privacy from them at this point.

  15. Very good. You had some key points there. The thing about Facebook is that it causes you to become a prisoner. Once you’re in, they wait for you to fall, to screw up. All they want is your information, and your money. I believe this now more than ever

  16. Maybe people trapped in the Matrix of facebook need to file

    a class action lawsuit that could become precedent setting.

    If you like being owned by anonymous corporations-
    cool- if not – they are not above the Constitution and
    Bill of Rights.

  17. Hi,
    Just a quickie but once i have deactivated my Facebook account can i still be ‘searched’ for?

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