The trendy new meme among the internet intelligentsia is that it’s time to delete your Facebook account. Granted, Facebook doesn’t make it easy to do so, but conventional wisdom now holds that it’s better to go through the ordeal of deletion than leave your data in Facebook’s nefarious hands.
Unfortunately, you can’t actually delete your Facebook account. You can deactivate your account, but Facebook has no intention or obligation to delete your user data for an additional two weeks. Facebook is a bit like Hotel California: You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.
And because you can’t delete your Facebook data, you shouldn’t delete your Facebook data. That is, you can quit Facebook, but don’t do so before you backup your Facebook data somewhere else.
Setting aside the fact that many industries are required by law to preserve their social media data, even on inert accounts, it’s simply a bad idea to leave Facebook as the only party that knows what Facebook knows about you. If Facebook suffers another Yelp exploit or mass identity theft, you’re going to want to know what data was compromised. The only way to know that is if you have a copy of your Facebook data. Deactivating an account stops Facebook from accruing more data about you, but it also stops you from assessing what data Facebook has on you.
Yes, we are one of the available services for backing up your Facebook data, and it is a bit self-serving to point this out. But if a security breach suddenly makes all your private Facebook messages public, or suddenly exposes all your private photos to the world, wouldn’t you want to know exactly what was being broadcast to the Internet at large?
Before you quit Facebook, be sure your Facebook data has a backup plan.
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