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how to delete a facebook account? - how to delete
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how to delete a facebook account?

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I want to delete a facebook account. How do I go about doing this thoroughly and completely?
asked in platform by theEraser (470 points)

An (abandoned) Facebook friends collection. Esteban Ottaso, 2012.
Interesting collection posted on that page. Is it all from your experience closing your account?

6 Answers

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There are six different methods for deleting a Facebook account discussed on the web. Each of these methods operate with a varying conception of permanence. And while there are other methods, these are the most commonly represented as having some measure of acceptable effect. How deep these deletion methods penetrate the physical substratum of inscription is unknown - studies suggest "deleted" content on facebook can remain on accessible servers for years and back ups of your account may exist on Facebook servers or within databases created by web scrapers and distributed in torrents indefinitely.
Deleting a Facebook account questions our understanding of what it means to delete information - between the user and the service, the object of deletion is made out to be something rather distinct. A walk through the various deletion methods will make this evident: 

I. Delete through deactivation

1. To deactivate your account, click "account" in the top right hand corner and select "account settings" from the drop down menu.

2. On the "My Account" page select "Deactivate Account".

3. You will be presented with a screen asking "Are you sure you want to deactivate your account?" Fill out the form, be sure to opt out of emails, and click "confirm". 

Deactivating an account does not delete it. It puts it in a kind of suspended animation, ready for re-activation at a subsequent login. Deactivating an account brings the user to regard their account in a particular way. The object of deletion is not an account within which information is merely contained, but rather something more immediate. Friendships themselves are at stake. Deactivating is to step away from relationships. It is to leave, not only a site of memory, but the immediate presence of friends.

Friends line up at your departure: Sarah will miss you (your neighbor). Erica will miss you (your best friend). Amber will miss you (your friend in the UK). They implore you to stay. The photos are of you with them (if available). Relationships are in the foreground. This is what will be lost. You can send them a message - returning you back into relationship, back into Facebook.

Are you sure you want to deactivate your account?

answered by CtrlZ (600 points)
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II. Delete through delete request

1. To "permanently delete" an account login and proceed to the following page: Delete My Account.

You will be asked to fill out your password again and enter security text (to ensure you're a human). Facebook also warns you that the process will render the account "permanently deleted with no option for recovery". However, you will likely be able to reactivate the account within 14 days by simply interacting with Facebook by logging in, clicking either the Facebook share or like buttons on another website, or by using Facebook Connect to login to any other website. As notes, it is best to ensure all third party websites, applications, linked accounts are deactivated or blocked so as to not inadvertently restore access to your account.

Requesting to be deleted underscores the extent to which regular web use is entangled with an active Facebook account.  Deletion means interacting with the web differently. The web will not be the same. The object is changed. 

Copies of some material (photos, notes, etc.) may remain in our servers for technical reasons, but this material is disassociated from any personal identifiers and completely inaccessible to other users. - Facebook

The idea that the information remaining on servers is "disassociated" and thereby inaccessible "to other users" presents the idea that the content is increasingly mediated through Facebook.

answered by CtrlZ (600 points)
edited by CtrlZ
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III. Delete through memorialization

Somewhere between users and Facebook came the idea of rendering the profiles of deceased users into memorials. Facebook classifies memorialization with account deactivation and deletion, reinforcing the idea of the Facebook account as an object of relationship and web presence.

Memorializing makes the account private - it "removes certain sensitive information (e.g. status updates and contact information) and sets privacy so that only confirmed friends can see the profile or locate it in search." As a monument, the memorial is within a private courtyard. Facebook users report that memorializing an account will remove all the status updates and wall posts that the deceased user posted (see comments).  Memorialization becomes part of the process of removing the deceased from memory - memory as recorded wall-to-wall posts.

answered by CtrlZ (600 points)
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IV. Delete through a third party service

1. When Seppukoo is not in a legal battle with Facebook, login and grant the service access to deactivate your account. Seppukoo will inform your friends of what you did, memorializing your victory over the digital self on and turning the act of deactivating an account into a game.

Free yourself from the identity constriction cutting it out! Similarly to the seppuku – the ancient ritual suicide used by japenese samurais to restore their honour back – deals with the liberation of the digital body from any identity constriction, in order to help people discover what happens after their virtual life and to rediscover the importance of being anyone, instead of pretending to be someone. - (sic)

The legal battle that has ensued between Facebook and Seppukoo's operator, Les Liens Invisibles, present an expectation from the act of deletion not present in Facebook's representation of account deletion with users. The emphasis is on deleting and destroying any content that Seppukkoo has acquired from Facebook. Without any known exceptions, Seppukkoo gained access to the accounts of users who explicitly granted permission to the Facebook deactivation service. 

Facebook to Seppukoo: Cease and Desist

What exactly is the difference between "deleted" and "destroyed". What does Facebook mean by asking for information to be "deleted and destroyed"? In contrast to the discussions surrounding memorializing, deactivating, and deleting user accounts, "deleted and destroyed" carries less a conceptual but a more physical sense to the act of deletion. [response from Les Liens Invisible]
answered by CtrlZ (600 points)
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V. Delete through abuse

1. The suggestions amount to one thing: abuse your account to the point that it is removed from you by Facebook. Delete your friends, add hundreds of strangers. Change your name, change everything to something offensive. Be the reason for deletion. Get excommunicated. 

While undoubtedly an unpopular method, it would work to affect account closure. As such it may satisfy a user's perception of Facebook as an abuser of private data. Whether the user's data is completely removed is irrelevant to the user - the object is vindication. 
answered by CtrlZ (600 points)
0 votes

VI. Delete through remediation

1. Find a reason to quit. Regain that thing by deactivating or "permanently deleting" your account.

Admit your Facebook addiction; regain order by quitting or limiting access. Recognize that your privacy is eroding; regain control by quitting. Object to centralized infrastructure of social networks; regain power through adoption of a distributed social networking service

Again, most of this can take place without a thought for the material object of deletion - or with a misplace notion. The "We're Quitting Facebook" campaign was hosted on Memorial Day. Like Seppukoo and Facebook emphasizing memorialization as material erasure.

Thought that is willing to put account deactivation,  limitation, or re-figuration into practice shows an understanding that Facebook is a working model and representation of relationships. It asserts a fidelity to relationships that does not confuse the mediating surface for the relationship. The platform can shift. Likewise, it does not deny the content for the mechanism. Although the medium certainly is the message, memories of the deceased are wrapped up in places. One of those places is Facebook. It may not be the place where people model relationships tomorrow, but it will remain a place of memory. A place for the dead.

answered by CtrlZ (600 points)

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