Why you shouldn’t delete your Facebook data — even if you delete it

Deactivating my Facebook Account
Image by mark_am_kramer via Flickr

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.

  • http://www.kimwoodbridge.com Kim Woodbridge

    I just had to say awesome Hotel California reference 😉

  • Trent

    Are you sure? This article talks about the direct link to get rid of Facebook forever.


    Direct link is:


  • http://twitter.com/cynicalgrinch Pawel

    Before you quite Facebook? Seriously?

    Also, you can actually delete your account:


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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=630435755 Mark K Curtis

    It would be nice then if your service actually worked. I assumed you were backing up my data – however it seems you have not been. Bloody good job I'm not paying you otherwise I'd be livid.
    You have a lot of work to do before you are a credible option.

  • javajoe

    If I want to delete my data I want to delete my data. No questions. Just do it.

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  • mleka

    Not correct. You CAN delete FB account forever.

  • http://ad.vu/xx2p mg©o

    Facebook account full deletion in my experience is a fairly recent phenomenon. Previously, you couldn’t actually delete and you were only allowed to deactivate (with FB allegedly making you think that your data & account are now thin air).
    Folks who were at the time following the virtual suicide trend were actually only deactivating their accounts (see Seppukkoo statement here http://j.mp/9HaRBW )
    So imho, this article is not entirely false.

  • VCM

    What utter nonsense! You CAN delete your facebook account – they just keep it for 14 days and then it’s gone. (Try in facebook under Help “How do I delete my facebook data?”) And if you are concerned about privacy, you should. The advice given here is that you should not, in order to know what embarrassing stuff is in there. Back it up somewhere else, they say, so that the same stuff exists in even more places. Oh my God!

  • Asif Ali

    You can also Read Related below Post

    How to Delete Facebook Account Forever — Visit Below Post Link