I’m deleting my Facebook profile because Facebook, Inc. creates a very scary situation. And that’s even if you don’t use the privacy-abusing games on their platform.
What will happen when I’m no longer on Facebook? Will I disappear? Will my status messages be deleted when Facebook, Inc. deletes my profile, removing me from the memory (read: walls) of all my friends? Will there be people who refuse to communicate with me because I do not use Facebook?
What happens when those of you who stay there for now find your next social platform, after Facebook goes out of fashion? Will you invite me to it or will I be so far removed from your world by then you don’t consider me worthy?
My Facebook private messages. They are saved inside Facebook. I’m glad I never put anything inside that platform that I really need to save, but I might want a copy of my messages anyhow. There seems to be no easy way to do this other than giving some random stranger’s application read rights to your entire profile in order to pull a backup. And if I had anything private in my inbox, I’d be completely daft to do that.
As an aside: There’s a sort of workaround that uses a Firefox extension called Archive Facebook to pull a “dumb” HTML copy of your profile. It’s better than nothing, but getting this back into machine-readable form to import into e.g. an e-mail client is less than fun. And did I mention it’s taking several hours to do and takes thousands of requests to Facebook?
The alternative could be to register as Facebook developer and write your own application against the Facebook API to retrieve your data, but I’m not sure if most people would like to invest that much work.
But back to the sinister business. Why does Facebook, Inc. cling onto your personal data like that? Some people have analyzed why it’s so hard to get your own Facebook data back from the company. I’ll let you read their opinions directly instead of regurgitating them.
Anyhow, I’ll shoot my profile in the face now. Goodbye. It was sort of fun, but also sort of unnecessarily risky. I’ll jump back on the bandwagon when decentralized, encrypted, self-hosted, privacy-aware and standardized social network nodes come into fashion. Maybe next year sometime. I’ll surely get Diaspora’s source on September 15th and see if there’s anything I can help out with.
Until then you’ll have to read my idiotic mutterings on this blog and on IRCnet’s #linux, and you’ll have to get my photos at Flickr. Yeah, I know making people look in three different locations for one person is social suicide nowadays 😛
If you feel all cheerful about killing yourself now (well, on Facebook), here’s the link to Facebook, Inc.’s account deletion request form.