5 Big Reasons Students Should Delete Their Facebook Accounts

Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg has a very limited amount of respect for a user’s privacy. After unveiling the Open Graph Protocol and all those now-familiar ‘Like’ buttons, Facebook started to rewrite the book on privacy. That’s why students around the country need to either deactivate, delete, or at least rethink how they use their facebook account. Here’s why:

1. Everything you do online is now being traced, analyzed, and shared with as many people as possible. Whether you’re searching for financial aid or something you think might be embarrassing, it’s likely all going to get told to facebook. Once facebook gets its hands on your information, it’s no longer yours. It’s no longer YOUR search history, it’s everyone’s search history. Despite being a nuisance, this may also lead to class action lawsuits since students who have a FERPA block may think they’re interacting in a secure way…only to find that their communications are being made public and identifying information is being shared illegally.

2. Facebook has not withdrawn the Open Graph Protocol plans and continues to push forward with new implementations. Instead, they have added cursory security features that do very little to obstruct the amount of information that can be viewed by others. For example, facebook is doing away with FB-Connect, the way to sign into all those websites you like. Now they’re going to be using OAuth (an open protocol to allow secure interactions) which is a step in the right direction…but the long-term plan for facebook is to have all your business and interactions take place on facebook. For example, the upcoming facebook marketplace will be a craigslist-amazon hybrid and will likely be a place for millions of people to buy products and services online. The biggest problem is that every item, interaction, and other action taken within this marketplace is analyzed and shared with everyone. Say you wanted to purchase an engagement ring and asked around on some facebook comment boards…bookmarked a few potential rings…and then suddenly saw that all this information was on your facebook live feed. Kind of spoils the surprise.

3. Facebook has a cavalier attitude about privacy. Their newest ideas have actually spawned ‘Quit Facebook Day‘ events around the globe. The cause has attracted several hundred pledges–about 780 at the time of writing. There’s also a Facebook Page devoted to the planned exit. “If you agree that Facebook doesn’t respect you, your personal data or the future of the Web, you may want to join us,” QuitFacebookDay.com explains.

Aside from this movement, what was uncovered a few weeks later has done the most damage to Facebook’s brand. A past IM conversation between then 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg and a fellow Harvard classmate offered a glimpse into Zuckerberg’s interpretation of privacy.

The messages were uncovered by Silicon Alley Insider, who is no stranger to excavating the unsavory details of Facebook’s past. They read:

Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard

Zuck: Just ask.

Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS

[Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?

Zuck: People just submitted it.

Zuck: I don’t know why.

Zuck: They “trust me”

Zuck: Dumb fucks.

4. “Facebook’s real customer is the advertisers that they work with: NOT YOU,” Facebook Protest’s official statement reads. The soon-to-be protesters also ask participants to:

commit to not logging in or interacting with Facebook in any way. Be sure to log out of Facebook in all of your browsers no later than the evening of June 5th. On the 6th, be sure to not use Facebook connect or click any “Like” buttons: basically refrain from ALL Facebook related activity.

The movement already has a following on Twitter (@FacebookProtest), and even has its own Facebook Event page. On the other hand, if you want to delete your Facebook account without waiting until May 31 (or June) here’s how. Click here for a recap of Facebook’s big privacy changes and what they mean. Check out a list of Facebook’s latest security features, and then watch a video of how to fix your Facebook profile’s privacy settings in two minutes.

5. Students and recent graduates must learn to use facebook and other social networks in a different way. The era of sharing every photo of your family and friends is going away. Tech-savvy students are becoming aware that, during job interviews, their facebook profiles will be viewed by potential employers. With the invention of facebook’s newest ways to share, the information you thought was private has a much better chance of leaking out and finding its way onto the screens of potential employers. So if you are interested in seeing if you could continue to live your life without facebook, you can either deactivate or delete your profile. Here’s how:

Deactivate Your Facebook Profile

Not ready to take the full plunge and delete? There’s a way you can ‘deactivate’ your profile and see if you can live without facebook. It’ll be quite shocking but I have actually deactivated my profile using this account and I have somehow been more productive and happier about life. Just my $.02

Deactivating an account is fairly simple: when you’re logged in to Facebook, click on the Account tab on the top right-hand side of the page. From the drop-down list, select “Account Settings”. The final option on the page is “Deactivate” – click on the link to be taken through to the deactivation page. Facebook tries to tempt you in to reconsidering, telling you that your friends “will no longer be able to keep in touch with you”; it also asks you to say why you are deactivating your account. At the foot of the page is box that allows you to opt out of receiving future emails from Facebook – if you do not tick this box, then you will continue to receive email notifications every time a former Facebook friend tags you in a photo, invites you to an event, or asks you to join a group. Ticking the box means you will no longer receive these messages.

Delete Your Facebook Profile

So how do you actually delete your facebook account? It’s simple!

Before You Start

1. Remove Facebook Connect logins. Many sites, like Digg.com and Meetup.com, allow signup and login using Facebook Connect - If you have accounts on such sites, go to each of them, and:

  • make sure you have a way to login that does not involve Facebook Connect (you will most likely have to create a username and password on the site if you haven’t already.)
  • logout of the account, then log back in using the alternate method (not using Facebook Connect), ensuring that you will be able to access the account after your Facebook account is deleted.
2. Copy and paste http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=delete_account once you have logged on. This screen will present itself:
Click “Submit” and follow instructions. There will be a simple password and a Captcha spam check to enter in.

  1. Do not login or connect with your Facebook account. You will receive an email saying that your account will be deleted in 14 days. Any interaction with the account during that period could prevent it from being deleted, so for 14 days:
    • do not try to login to your Facebook account; you may want to clear your browser cache and delete your cookies so that you don’t login inadvertently.
    • do not click the Facebook Share or Like button on any site you visit.
    • do not use Facebook Connect to login to or signup on any site (see Before You Start, above.)
  2. Wait and watch. At the end of 14 days, all of your posts, comments, info, etc., will be permanently made inaccessible on Facebook.