Ditching Facebook

Are you still using Facebook?

What is all the fuss about Facebook and data?

Last week, The New York Times broke a story about how Facebook personal data was collected, sold, and used by political campaigns to influence people’s opinions and beliefs.

 The reaction was swift and fierce. Facebook users began to see how much of their information was collected and sold. Facebook stock plummeted, and a movement to ditch Facebook ensued.

When you sign up for Facebook, you agree to its Terms of Service. That document references the Data Policy. You’re agreeing that Facebook has the right to provide that data to others.

Facebook apparently ran afoul of its own policies by allowing this data to be collected and then resold in the way it was. There are also reports that Facebook was aware of this and did nothing to stop it until 24 hours before publication of the NYT story.

They still haven’t notified the millions of users whose data was misused in this way.

People are angry.

OK, that does it. I’m getting off Facebook forever. But … how?

You can start the process of deleting your account by pointing your browser to this URL. If you want to deactivate your account instead of deleting it:

  • Click account settings at the top right of any Facebook page.
  • Select Settings.
  • Click General in the left column.
  • Choose Manage your account and then scroll down to click Deactivate your account.

Learn the difference between deactivation and deletion here.

But hang on a minute. You should do a couple of things first.

You have lots of interesting things you’ve posted to Facebook. Do you have all that elsewhere? Almost certainly not. You should not delete your account without first downloading a copy of your data:

  • Open Facebook
  • Click on Settings | General | Download a copy of your Facebook data (small link at the bottom)
  • Follow the prompts

You’ll receive a confirmation email and later an email with a link to the download. Get on that right away, as the link will expire shortly.

Another critical thing to do is revoke permission to any apps, and to change your login information for anyplace you’ve previously selected “Sign in with Facebook.” You can find that information:

  • Open Facebook
  • Click on Settings | Apps | Show all
  • Review those apps and make sure you either already have another way to sign in to each of them or visit the apps and create a new sign in
  • When you’re ready to kill off the Facebook access, click on the X next to the app to Remove it
  • Scroll down to Apps other use
  • Click on Edit
  • Clear all check boxes
  • Click on Save

Finally, you might want to look at your Friends list and see if you have contact information for those you want to stay in touch with.

Once you’ve done all that, go back to the delete page, and go for it.

What do you think? Are you still using Facebook? Are you nervous about it? Future columns will show you how you can be safer on Facebook.

Stay tuned.

Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!


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About the Author

The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

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