We'll see | Matt Zimmerman

a potpourri of mirth and madness

A farewell to Facebook

Actually, on second thought, this isn’t a farewell. There is no goodwill on either side of this bitter parting. Facebook doesn’t care about my privacy or consent, and I don’t care about their shady and anti-competitive profiteering. It’s over between us.

So, here’s what I did:

  1. made a list of all of my connections on Facebook (via copy and paste from a browser window)
  2. confirmed that I have alternate contact information for all of them, either by email or other social media
  3. deleted all of my photo albums
  4. deleted all of the information from all sections of my profile
  5. removed all applications
  6. deleted everything under “My Links”
  7. deleted all of my notes (this was tedious, as my blog was syndicated there)
  8. followed the WikiHow instructions to delete my account

Obviously, I can’t really control whether they hold onto my data in spite of this. This should provide a clear statement of intent on my part, though, if it comes up in future shenanigans.


Written by Matt Zimmerman

May 16, 2010 at 12:52

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

24 Responses

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  1. A better way might be to slowly over time corrupt the information and replace it with gibberish, bogus connections, goatse and so on. That way you make their backups useless too.


    May 16, 2010 at 13:16

    • Text do not take much space. They are likely to keep the text data more or less forever.

      People need to learn about privacy.


      May 16, 2010 at 13:40

    • It’s likely that everything is saved on their servers under primary and foreign key relations weather you ‘change’ or ‘delete’ any of it or not.

      Jeffrey Anthony

      May 17, 2010 at 10:23

    • I have rickrolled my facebook account, but am considering leaving as well.


      May 17, 2010 at 18:23

  2. oh yeah! jump on the facebook hate train!
    The social graph facebook builds is only useful if it is accessible to some extend. And up to now facebook did not push it too far yet. (= no negative consequences for the user)
    Of course, old school computer scientists seem to be kind of paranoid about the useless stuff they post on facebook…


    May 16, 2010 at 13:38

  3. I recently “had” to rejoin Facebook because of its sheer ubiquitousness in my social circles and being without a mobile phone atm (!) it is pretty much the only easy/straight forward way of keeping up with people.

    What I did find scary/weird was the moment I rejoined, using a different e-mail from my long-since-deleted account, Facebook had “remembered” quite a lot about me..


    May 16, 2010 at 13:50

  4. Well done, Matt. I only have a fake account with only 3 really good friends .. because of curiosity. I don’t login very often and post next to nothing and my web filtering kills their tracking. Still they can probably say a lot about me just by relating all the stuff other people post if they really want to.

    I think Canonical should have a look at Ubuntu one and maybe add some social features to it. People who care about Ubuntu/FOSS/Freedom/Democracy are likely to use it.

    Look at how much free publicity the Diaspora* boys get. I think it is really time to look into taking “social from the start” to the next level.

    There might be a few FOSS projects right around the corner that might work for 11.04. (I know it is unrealistic for 10.10)
    I really hope the safebook.us stuff gets open sourced or that Diaspora/onesocialweb/ellg/appleseed/whatever can agree on some encrypted protocol that bind activitystrea.ms,status.net/etc together.

    Maybe there is a new social Eucalyptus right around the corner. Move fast (and maybe fail fast, but it worked great with Eucalyptus)


    May 16, 2010 at 13:55

  5. woohoo! I am so glad I never had a Facebook account, nor do I ever want a Facebook account. Congrats!


    May 16, 2010 at 14:01

  6. Sucks for colledge students – no permament phone number, no permament address, university emails expire after graduation, facebook is the only way to stay in touch =(


    May 16, 2010 at 14:45

    • Facebook may be convenient for graduating students, but isn’t the only option by any means.

      Phone number – All of the students I know have mobile phones, and would have no reason to give them up after university. Also, for US students, Google is now offering Google Voice invitations to anyone with a .edu email address: http://www.google.com/googlevoice/students.html

      (Postal) address – for what? ;-)

      Email address – there are loads of options here which will last beyond university. I don’t see the problem.

      The main thing which is lacking is the ability to find people easily, but that’s getting better outside of Facebook.

      Matt Zimmerman

      May 16, 2010 at 14:57

      • Mobile phone numbers are useless for keeping in touch with people. When i was at Uni in 2001, facebook didn’t exist, all we had was email and phone numbers. Email accounts expire, get hacked etc and mobile phones break, numbers expire, contracts end, mobiles get lost, stolen etc so Facebook (and other similar sites) is useful.


        May 16, 2010 at 15:08

        • “Mobile phone numbers are useless for keeping in touch with people. […] mobile phones break […] mobiles get lost, stolen etc.”

          I don’t quite understand what this has to do with the problem. Breaking or losing your mobile phone shouldn’t affect your phone number. Or otherwise there something profoundly different how the mobile phone system works in your country. In my country (Finland) you may even keep your old phone number (including the prefix) when you change the service provider.

          Ari Torhamo

          May 16, 2010 at 18:38

        • e-mail accounts don’t necessarily expire, nor get hacked to any further extent than Facebook accounts do. Just get yourself a gmail, yahoo, hotmail or what not account and be done with it. Permanent, backed up and spam filtered (well, at least gmail, dunno whether the other two are spam filtered).

          David Weinehall

          June 5, 2010 at 15:39

  7. What’s facebook?


    May 16, 2010 at 15:43

  8. \o/


    May 16, 2010 at 16:21

  9. Matt Zimmerman

    May 16, 2010 at 19:45

  10. There’s a facebook app called “give me my data” that lets you copy out info like your friend list, status updates, and photos. When I left facebook, I first deleted all my info as you did. Then I used that app to archive all my info.

    Wait, what? Yes, all the data I had deleted was still available to the app.

    Joey Hess

    May 16, 2010 at 20:55

    • Oh my, so I guess deleting all your info is useless. Did you ever figure out how to actually delete it?


      May 16, 2010 at 22:37

  11. I am using some of my energy to test onesocialweb and hope that all my FLOSS folks can join it unless diaspora or something else pops up that is better. In the meanwhile FB has me :)

    Kevin Mark

    May 17, 2010 at 06:50

  12. From what I hear, setting your profile picture to a penis is the only sure-fire way to be erased from Facebook. Even with the steps you took, you may see your friends listed on “instant personalization” websites, even though you’re not logged in and erased your account.

    Jo Shields

    May 17, 2010 at 13:44

  13. I did it a week ago. Its amazing how much time I wasted on that damn site now that I’m not on it. I don’t miss it though. Deleting my Facebook was the best thing I have done in awhile. Identi.ca and twitter are my new social home until diaspora.


    May 18, 2010 at 15:57

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