Business Technology

Tuesday 16 October 2018

Here's how you delete a Facebook account - but are you willing to do it?

Facebook. Photo: Stock
Facebook. Photo: Stock
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

So is it time to delete your Facebook account?

Brian Acton thinks so. The co-founder of Whatsapp, who made €6bn from selling his messaging service to Facebook four years ago, this week tweeted:"The time has come. #deleteFacebook."

Like everyone else, he was disgusted about revelations over political manipulation on the social platform.

But saying you'll delete your Facebook account and doing it are two very different things.

Will any of us who are currently excoriating Facebook follow through with the ultimate sanction?

Even after all that we now know about being duped and misled with the ads and apps we see, do we mean it when we say we will pull the plug on a social network that 2m of us in Ireland use every single day?

The evidence suggests we won't.

Every year there's some sort of scandal. Every year we howl about our privacy being eroded.

Yet every year, our Facebook usage keeps going up and up. In Ireland, it's now more than two hours per day.

If we're honest with ourselves, we know the reason why. Convenience and social curiosity stop us asserting our own privacy.

Try finding an old friend without using Facebook. Or keeping tabs on what your mates and family are doing. It's awfully difficult.

Facebook is now a utility, like a phone or a car. It's our phone book, our photo album and community information service all rolled into one.

(Oh, and news. Don't forget news.)

If you really mean it, though, you can delete Facebook from your phone and laptop while keeping all the photos and messages you once put up there.

Not many people know it, but Facebook lets you download everything you've ever typed in or uploaded. The only catch is that it has to be on a laptop or PC.

In Facebook, just click on the top right of the page, choose "settings" and then you'll see a link that says: "Download a copy of your Facebook data." This includes all your photos, comments, messages, friend connections and other things that make the service personal to you.

Once this is done, you can go ahead and start nuking your account from the laptop or hone.

Go into "account settings", "general" and "manage account". Here, you can "deactivate" your account.

This isn't final, mind, but keeps your Facebook in a sort of limbo that can be reactivated at a future point.

The last step is the final option to "permanently delete" your account. Once this is done, there's no going back.

The evidence shows most people think twice before pulling the fatal trigger.

Will the current controversy cause a real exodus this time?

We'll soon know.

Irish Independent

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