In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica uproar over Facebook, there’s been a loud hue and cry around deleting our Facebook accounts. Is this a solution to protecting our privacy?
For some people it will be. But for many of us, deleting Facebook would be akin to cutting off our social air supply. Yes, Facebook has become the social platform that many of us love to hate. It’s seductive. We see our cousins’ vacation pictures, ask for restaurant or mattress recommendations, read nutty or brilliant political rants, and laugh over our clever friends’ memes. Facebook Groups can be a great source of support around our special interests. I truly enjoy the podcasting groups I belong to.
When I was interviewed on the CBC radio show Here and Now on March 21 (you can hear the interview here), I made these points about the #DeleteFacebook campaign:
- It’s not necessary to delete your Facebook account to beef up your privacy. But there are steps you should take, including: being mindful of the personal information you share; checking your Facebook privacy settings; and examining the apps to which you’ve given account access. You may be surprised at the number of them! Also: don’t do quizzes because they often require access to a trove of your information.
- If you want to experiment with whether you can live without Facebook, try de-activating your account. This means your profile won’t be visible on Facebook and people won’t be able to search for you. Some information, such as messages you sent to friends, may still be visible to others. Your Messenger account will remain active unless you deactivate it as well. You can reactivate Messenger or your main Facebook account at any time. Here’s how to deactivate.
- If you decide you’re really finished with Facebook, you can delete your account permanently. This process takes 90 days, and if you log in during that period, you start the 90-day countdown all over again. Here’s how to delete your account permanently.
For many of us, deleting Facebook would hurt us and cut down on our social interactions. What else can social media users do, then? How about demanding a better Facebook? Those of us who work in communications were dismayed at the long wait for Facebook’s official response to the latest privacy blowup. Finally, on March 21, Mark Zuckerberg issued a statement, apologizing and also stating that Facebook would be auditing all apps. This is a good first step.
As April Glaser says in this post on Slate: “If you think Facebook is worth deleting over its issues, then call your elected official to regulate the company, as well as other companies, like Google, that profit from harvesting our personal details to sell ads tailored to us across the internet. Because it’s becoming clearer that we can’t trust these companies to regulate themselves, and these conversations about user privacy, security, and well-being are incredibly important for those who can’t afford to not be on Facebook.”
As Facebook users, we need to demand a better Facebook. Do you agree? Will you delete your account? What’s your take?