February 11, 2008

Facebooked for life (or not)

The perils of the fastest growing social networking site are emerging.

Anna quotes a Facebook customer in Sepia Mutiny:
“It’s like the Hotel California,” said Nipon Das, 34, a director at a biotechnology consulting firm in Manhattan, who tried unsuccessfully to delete his account this fall. “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave."
While the Web site offers users the option to deactivate their accounts, Facebook servers keep copies of the information in those accounts indefinitely.

Another peril is that numerous research agencies are studying Facebook profiles and following peoples conversations/likings for making them targets of Advertisers. And Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg recently unveiled a new system of advertisement that is triggered by people's conversations in Facebook. As soon as you type "I love/hate Paris", ads concentrating on Paris will be displayed. When Mark was asked whether they have considered whether they have taken Facebook users opinions, he boldly said its an advertisement supported site (not free) anyway.

So what is cheap can bring terrible consequences if you are not alert. If you are a Facebook user you should keep your profile restricted to your friends only to keep safe from identity theft. And with this tip you can ignore all annoying Facebook apps requests in one click.

Update: Facebook is reading our blogs and its great to know that they are hearing us. It may be a good case study on PR for all web 2.0 initiatives. I have received an email from a PR company of Facebook and part of it goes like this:
Below please find a comment which you can attribute to ***** at Facebook, addressing your inquiry (??) regarding Facebook account deletion:

“There are two different ways to remove your information from Facebook. The first is to deactivate an account. Once a user deactivates the account, his or her profile becomes inaccessible on the main Facebook service, and the data is kept by Facebook only to allow easy reactivation. The second option is to delete the profile altogether. When a user deletes his or her profile, personal information -- such as name and all email addresses associated with the account -- is deleted from Facebook servers. If a user decides to join Facebook again, he or she would need to create a new profile. We are working to better explain the simple deactivation process, and to ease the deletion process for those who want their personal information removed from our servers. Additional information can be found on the Facebook help page at http://www.facebook.com/help.php?page=5“
So it is possible. For details on this issue please check the "How to permanently delete your facebook account" group in Facebook.


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