Facebook's grip on all of your data – exposed

Facebook is certainly making life difficult for users who want out. Could it be coincidence that a list of changes has appeared following the launch of Google’s G+? People are responding well to Google’s alternative, and, to us, it looks like Facebook is dabbling in the dark arts to keep its users users, whether they like it or not.

Data is the topic of the hour. People are growingly concerned with who owns our personal data and what they’re doing with it. Transparency isn’t exactly topping certain company’s to-do lists. So you’d like to think that once you sign up to an account with any service, you would have some control over your data. Or at least have the option of removing it without coming up against tricks and cons from the company holding it – your information.

Anyone who has tried to delete their Facebook account recently will probably have noticed it isn’t that simple.

Facebook has hidden the ‘Permanently delete’ option, at least for the average user who doesn’t Google everything they don’t understand or can’t find. Of its userbase, that will be a significant number of people.

When you go to ‘Account settings’ and then ‘Security’ you can see the option of deactivating the account. When you click to deactivate, not only do you have to give Zuckerberg a reason, but you have no option on the page to delete the data associated with the account in question.

To the average user, this looks a lot like ‘Facebook don’t let you delete your account. They only let you deactivate it.’

It looks as though you have no option to delete everything you’ve got attached to your account. And with some people, that’s a lot.

All of those private messages, photo albums and ‘likes’ still exist when your account is deactivated.

It just means that you are no longer searchable. The account still exists with all that information still attached to it.

With so many people falling for Facebook’s questionable cunning, people are manually deleting their albums, content on their wall, and their messages. The messages are the hardest to manually remove.

Did you know that the little ‘x’ next to your messages no longer means delete? It’s now ‘archive’. You archive your messages now!

If you want to delete your messages, you have to open them one by one, going through the menu time and time again, and keep hitting the delete button.

If you want to actually delete your Facebook account, you won’t find the link anywhere in your account settings. You have to scour the Help Centre for the ‘Permanently delete your account’ link. Which happens to be here.

You have to submit a request to Facebook to have your information removed and your account deleted. This takes approximately two weeks. If you log into, or use your account in any way, the deletion is cancelled and you will have to resubmit your request to delete all of your personal information.

That includes clicking any ‘like’ buttons, logging in to your account or logging into Facebook chat on external clients. Does facebook log in automatically on your phone? Opening that will reactivate it, too. 

Anyone would think Facebook is scared of losing users to Google+. Which happens to be why TechEye got its magnifying glass out and went on the trail. A lot of people are talking a lot about how to delete their accounts. Or at least thinning data out before deleting at a later date. Clearly, it’s not that easy. Why?