No, Facebook, I don’t want my 5$ back, but I want something from you.

October 29, 2012
By Bogomil Shopov
29 Comments
Post Image

Via different channels I got the same question :

Did you get your 5 dollars back?

It’s not a secret, that I got this question as well:

Did you really delete the data as requested? Can you sell it to me … /can you share it with me?/

Well the truth is, I don’t want my 5$ back, especially not from Facebook.

And yes, I deleted the data…but maybe, just maybe I’ve deleted the data the same way Facebook deletes users’ data when he/she wants to delete his/her account…

What do I want?

[box color=”red”]

I want Facebook to start removing entire user data after pressing “Delete my account”. Is this so much to ask. This is fair, isn’t it? Can we achieve that as a community?

[/box]

Bogomil Shopov

I care about privacy, ethical design, and freedom in many aspects. I spend 20+ years working as a web developer and architect, analyst, manager, and product owner/manager in different environments, several countries, and multiple software industries like Healthcare and Hospitality. I wore many hats, and I use the knowledge gathered to optimize the flow of value across complex systems.

29 Comments

  • Tomer Cohen

    October 29, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I’d like Facebook not to share sensitive user data with 3rd parties. Is it too much to request?

    Reply
    • Schubi

      October 31, 2012 at 12:59 am

      WTF does everybody think internet corporations are charities?
      Of course they will sell user data if they can earn from it and of course 99 percent of the users will just click that they agree with everything without even reading the Eula.
      If it is confidential don’t put it on Facebook, better don’t put it on the internet at all.

      Reply
  • Dimitar

    October 29, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Like any other company these days…whach what you share, because it can be dangerous to use from bad people in some cases

    Reply
  • Nellie Voss

    October 29, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    A very good and fair point!

    Reply
  • Nodovitt

    October 29, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Even I’d want facebook to remove entire data when I hit “Delete My Account”.

    Reply
  • A disgruntled developer

    October 29, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I’d like people to start taking responsibility for their own actions, including agreeing to draconian policies which stand as guards to corporate services.

    I’d like people to understand that working collaboratively, a la OSS and the Creative Commons will take us light years ahead of the old ways of working.

    I’d like people to learn to embrace the difficult parts of life as opposed to running away from them and “letting somebody else think about it”.

    We can only dream, eh?

    Reply
  • asdf

    October 29, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    @tomer If it’s sensitive, why did you put it on Facebook?

    Reply
  • Todor

    October 29, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    I deleted my account 2 years ago and still recieve newsletters, notifications, friend requests on my email. But can’t login with that email. WTF!?

    Reply
  • Jon Jackson

    October 29, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Exact reason why we no longer use Facebook.

    Reply
  • Joseph Rodriguez

    October 29, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I would like Facebook to ask me if I want them to delete my info when I press “delete my account”

    Reply
  • Dr. Paul Rudimeyer

    October 29, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    I’d like Facebook to not collect data from users that don’t volunteer it. Is that to much to request?

    Reply
  • anontruthist

    October 29, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    No.

    Facebook owns your data.

    Go take a hike.

    Reply
  • jsavage

    October 29, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Well folks you were warned.fb is big brother period.

    Reply
  • lifeguard

    October 29, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Facebook and other social networking sites will NEVER delete data (on purpose). They will take the ‘deleted’ data ‘off-line’, but it is never gone.

    Reply
  • john

    October 29, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    I think you are scared

    Reply
  • Tucky

    October 29, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    You all have a misunderstood concept of facebook, how do you guys think Facebook make all of their millions? just on advertisments? If you are not paying for a product, you are the product. And facebook is in for a big business, so is google. So lets stop being “so surprise” I don’t like the way they try to play innocent either, but should we play innoncent too?

    Reply
  • T Fernand

    October 30, 2012 at 12:54 am

    I can’t agree more. I wanted Facebook to remove all my data, but was never able to. They would constantly send me emails, and ask me to reactivate my account every time I visit facebook.com.
    I had to remove all cookies, change all my information on their website, and mark any message from Facebook as spam to stop this. Can’t they understand that not everyone on earth wants to spend all their time on their website.

    Reply
  • MSPS

    October 30, 2012 at 1:23 am

    This could be a gold mine :D…

    Is it possible to get some money from them, like suing them…for having our info on the wild?

    5 dollars?? 5 million dollars that would be a begining… incompetents…

    Reply
  • thelabrat

    October 30, 2012 at 4:21 am

    A very reasonable request.

    Reply
  • Rob Bird

    October 30, 2012 at 8:29 am

    How would we know for sure that Facecrook really deleted our data anyway? They could say they did, but then their definition of “deleted” means sold to some guy in Bulgaria for $2.50.

    Reply
  • Wilmer

    October 30, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Well, I’m just asking… Could you tell us why you wanted to buy that pack from a Facebook application? And then, if it was exactly what you were looking for: As a costumer, I know I would be pleased to see I can get such an awesome product 4 just a few dollars.

    I ‘m really surprised after reading all the Facebook threats, and the way they want to keep ur silence. But I’m actually shocked for what U did at first.

    So: Why don’t you tell us the reason why you bought all that information?
    Just to prove what Policy is able to do in extreme terms?

    Reply
  • rktect

    October 30, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Part of the problem isn’t what Facebook chooses to actually delete when a user selects to “Delete my account”, but rather what is technically feasible.

    Facebook’s architecture is built for scalability and performance, not for traceability of data or audit capabilities. The fact is, to achieve that scalability and performance, it means keeping many copies of your data on many machines, all using different software and infrastructure. Some are used to serve the website, some for API access. There are 10’s of thousands of database servers, just as many caching servers, and even more web application servers. There’s also back-end analytics servers which use algorithms to work your social graph to show recommended friends, highlighted posts, ads, internal Facebook stuff and much more. There are dozens of software and hardware layers your data flows through, all which have hard drives and local memory to store whatever data they need to do their job(s). Data is also chopped up into smaller, more manageable “shards” since the whole Facebook social graph and all it’s accompanying data is extremely large and too big to fit on any one machine or hard drive. So, finding all your shards, copies, backups for all of your data on all machines would be a very difficult task – perhaps today it would be impossible for them. This is the kind of core feature that needs to be integrated into the system right from the start. It’s unfortunate they strategically seem focused on more user-facing features instead of spending the necessary effort to get better at privacy.

    I am not condoning what Facebook does. Nor am I debating what the “Delete my account” functionality means to a user (not to Facebook) to actually remove all user data and not keep “some” anonymized data for whatever purposes. I’m just noting that technically it’s very complex and would be a significant effort/cost to add the capabilities necessary to ensure all data was truly deleted. Note that this problem is faced by the Google’s, Apple’s and other large tech companies too, not just Facebook. Some are better at it than others, but it’s the nature of the “cloud.”

    @Tomer – unfortunately selling user data to third parties is how a majority of internet-based companies make money. It’s just the nature of an industry which provides free ad supported services. I do agree we need better controls around these as users, such as opt-in/out options and clarity (in plain non-legalese language) of terms. There are efforts working towards this – lets hope they make progress!

    Reply
  • Daniloqueva

    October 30, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    I have tried to delete my Facebook account 3 times now with no success whatsoever. After submitting the “DELETE(not deactivating it) MY ACCOUNT request” and waited for over a month every time I go back to check if the account has been delete expecting to receive an “invalid username or password” what I always get is a F@#$%ing welcome back we have activated your account again.

    Reply
  • Esdras Salazar

    October 31, 2012 at 2:19 am

    You got a good point, If you want to delete all your data from anywhere you should be able to.

    Reply
  • Richard

    October 31, 2012 at 6:52 am

    What I found interesting when I found this information/news on some sites and pressed share on FB it said there was an error. Hmmm I link stuff everyday via FB, seems something is wrong with my ” LINKER” when it came to this information.

    Reply
  • Mike Littoris

    October 31, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Getting Farcebook to delete all traces of your account is harder than pulling an ingrowing hair out of a crocodile’s arse!

    Reply
  • la

    November 3, 2012 at 4:15 am

    Welcome to the cyberverse of Facebook, you can check out any time you like- but you can never leave!

    Reply
  • Emmanuel

    November 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Do you have a copy of that list? can you sell to me

    Reply
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