Over the last 9 years Facebook has grown from a small social networking site originally intended for college students into a worldwide platform that is now used not only by private users, but by some of the world’s largest corporations. However, with the enormous expansion and popularity of Facebook has come increased concerns over the privacy it offers its users. It may be time to reevaluate your favorite social media channel and take a look at permanently deleting your Facebook account to reduce the risk of a privacy breach.
Most people use Facebook to interact and engage with friends and favorite brands. We share pictures, publish comments and give thumbs up to the posts we like in our Newsfeeds. But from commenting on the hottest trending article to sharing your latest song obsession by your favorite band, you are offering pieces of personal data. Even something as simple as hitting the ‘Like’ button could be revealing more than you’d like to share publically.
Facebook’s Data Use Policy states it is constantly collecting your personal information to bring you better, more targeted advertising and to improve your overall user experience. But, in doing so, it may also be compromising your privacy. And don’t forget, the information Facebook is collecting might not even be coming directly from you; your friends’ activities may be divulging data you haven’t outright decided to share. A friend updating a contact list has just given your phone number to Facebook. Another friend tagging you in a status update while you’re out together has just revealed your current location. Information you’ve chosen to keep from Facebook has now been given away and could be used to help attackers target you through phishing and spam attacks or even through identity theft.
As safe as you may feel with the privacy settings you’ve set up for your account, you should always be aware of the dangers that lurk when it comes to sharing information on Facebook. If you feel your privacy is being compromised and you’ve decided it’s time to delete your account, you can use these steps to do so:
You have two options when it comes to closing out your Facebook profile; deactivation or deletion. Deactivating your account will simply put everything on hold. When choosing this option your Timeline will no longer be publically visible, but your information will remain stored within Facebook should you choose to reactivate at a later time. Please note, if you are deactivating your account your profile will still show up in your friends’ lists of friends, but it will be inaccessible once clicked on.
If you are ready to delete your account permanently, you may do so here. It may take a month for your profile to actually disappear and up to 90 days for it to be removed from Facebook’s computer system entirely. Once your profile is deleted there is no way to retrieve any of your information. However, Facebook does offer the option to download a copy of your info before deletion, including your entire Timeline (posts, photos, messages etc.), an expanded archive and your activity log. Since this action is permanent, be sure you aren’t choosing to move forward with it unless you’re 100% confident you’d like to do so.
It’s important to be aware of your privacy when it comes to using any social media platform, so know which personal data you’re willing to share publically before you start engaging socially.