How Sticky Is Membership on Facebook? Just Try Breaking Free – New York Times (You may need a free account to read that article)
Okay, I’m on Facebook. I have a love/hate relationship with Social Networking sites. I see the benefit they could offer (though I don’t think it’s truly being realized), but I also see huge opportunities for abuse in multiple areas, including security.
There have been commercials lately, targeted at teens, mostly, that warn about the permanancy of things you post online; once you put them out there, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to fully take them down. This is another example of the same principle.
The network is still trying to find a way to monetize its popularity, mostly by allowing marketers access to its wealth of demographic and behavioral information. The retention of old accounts on Facebook’s servers seems like another effort to hold onto — and provide its ad partners with — as much demographic information as possible.
“The thing they offer advertisers is that they can connect to groups of people. I can see why they wouldn’t want to throw away anyone’s information, but there’s a conflict with privacy,” said Alan Burlison, 46, a British software engineer who succeeded in deleting his account only after he complained in the British press, to the country’s Information Commissioner’s Office and to the TRUSTe organization, an online privacy network that has certified Facebook.
While I sympathize that the Facebook wants to get some profit out of their business, and they’re certainly entitled to it, there is NO excuse for them refusing to delete my personal data if I specifically request it to be deleted. Throw up any number of confirmations and warnings you want, but when I get to the end of that string, do it. While I’m on the system, do your best to make money off me (ethically, of course, and with full disclosure of methods), but if I want out, I want out of it all. I’m not signing up to be a member for life.
I’ve been hesitant to truly use my Facebook account, and this just reinforces that feeling.
[tags]social networking, facebook, invasion of privacy, bad business practices[/tags]