In this modern age, we are immersed in social media from the moment we wake up. It’s everywhere: in the business world, in family connections and with work. But as with everything high tech that is so persuasive in life, there is another side to the story.
Maybe you have realized you spend hours scrolling through Facebook updates and are tired of the time drain. And you’ve probably heard of the security and data-collection backlashes against social media. And you’ve seen the ads on Facebook that “know” the other sites you have visited or what you have shopped for. Facebook’s secret experiments last year with manipulating news feed content for research purposes were unsettling, even though all users agreed to such tests when clicking through Facebook’s terms of service agreement.
After all that, you may feel like the frog in hot water, not knowing beforehand that it’s about to be boiled alive. But it’s not too late. You can quit social media.
I’m seriously considering quitting Facebook. Though I like posting news articles and things of interest and seeing what others have to say, I’m aware that it’s a huge time drain. We can limit what we see on our Facebook news feed, but still: the friend requests and the postings from friends of friends just get to be too much sometimes. And the security and data-collection implications of Facebook continue to get worse.
So how does one delete a Facebook account? It’s no surprise that Facebook doesn’t make it easy to quit. It’s their business model. It’s actually easier to go to a website called deletefacebook.com and read about the process than navigate through Facebook’s own help documents.
Deletefacebook.com is run by a web developer named Edward Cant who lives near London. He gives a full rundown on how to delete your Facebook account. He points out that when you start the process to delete your account – and it is a process – don’t even log back into Facebook before the end of two weeks. If you do, your delete request will be canceled. And what Facebook calls “deactivation” isn’t deleting. Your account will remain in a dormant state, but it is still there, ready to be reactivated.
Of course, it’s not possible to delete everything that you’ve posted on Facebook over the years (which reinforces the old idea that you should be careful what you post online, anyway). Some emails and photos will stay in other people’s accounts and timelines; that’s the way Facebook works.
Cant advises people to post an “Account Deletion Epitaph” to inform people why you’re quitting and asking them to delete your emails and photos and to not post anything in the future that personally identifies you. He also reports that he gets 185,000 hits a month on Deletefacebook.com, which shows the interest in quitting Facebook.
Maybe you find can’t fully quit Facebook if your social media presence is tied to a business or organization or family. But maybe you can start a new Facebook page for your business life and pare back or delete your personal page. If you feel overwhelmed, look into taking back your life from Facebook.