Some users have discovered that it is nearly impossible to remove themselves entirely from Facebook, setting off a fresh round of concern over the popular social network’s use of personal data.
“I thought it was kind of strange that they save your information without telling you in a really clear way,” said Magnus Wallin, a 26-year-old patent examiner in Stockholm who founded a Facebook group, “How to permanently delete your facebook account.” The group has almost 4,300 members and is steadily growing.
Only people who contact Facebook’s customer service department are informed that they must painstakingly delete, line by line, all of the profile information, “wall” messages and group memberships they may have created within Facebook.
Facebook’s quiet archiving of information from deactivated accounts has increased concerns about the network’s potential abuse of private data, especially in the wake of its fumbled Beacon advertising feature.
That application, which tracks and publishes the items bought by Facebook members on outside Web sites, was introduced in November without a transparent, one-step opt-out feature.
After a public backlash, including more than 50,000 Facebook users’ signatures on a MoveOn.org protest petition, Facebook executives apologized and allowed such an opt-out option on the program.
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