I killed myself on Facebook, and lived to tell the tale
It was shortly before my wedding. As I assume others do, I spent some time examining my life. Amidst the consideration of my health, my career and my relationship came a question.
What are you doing on Facebook?
There must be people who find Facebook fulfilling, just as there are people who enjoy discussing Kanye West’s latest rant or actually believe the man has a talent for making anything other than a tit of himself. I just happen not to be one of them.
I used no apps. I killed no pirates or zombies. I didn’t kiss anyone or any number of other stereotypical application activities the media trots out when making casual reference to our social networking overlords. I got the occasional party invite that way, but not many. My sole benefit was being friended by people I haven’t seen or heard from in 20 years, who proceeded not to make any further contact.
I decided I could live without them, and the hordes of random people I met at a party once, so I set about looking for the Delete button.
Ever seen that option?
I’ll save you the hassle. There isn’t one.
There is a Deactivate option. One may deactivate one’s account. Leaving all of one’s relationships, apps, wall notes, mails, statuses, photos - all of one’s data - safely nestled inside Facebook’s servers. Where they can process metadata about your identity and network of friends to their cold information-loving heart’s content. Where they can use your demographic information to increase their advertising revenue. Best of all, they still store data on your computer - so that when your friends send you a link to the photos from last Friday night, Facebook knows it’s you and warmly informs you re-activation is only a click away.
That data still on your machine that is the biggest worry. Facebook Beacon, a poorly received but still active system for sharing the activity of Facebook users on external websites back to Facebook, uses that data to know who you are. Then shares that information with both Facebook and the external website partnered with them.
Being the forthright Internet warrior that I am, I started hunting down contact details so I could give them what for - as soon as I’d bitched about it on Twitter. Unbelievably the only contact available in those heady days was an email address hidden away on their corporate site under Privacy. My polite request was replied to by Facebook Support (still using the privacy email address) with some random stonewalling about their Help section - which made no mention of account deletion (but does now), and so the game began in earnest.
I have 13 emails across a 10 day period in February 2008, and I’m certain they are the beginning of my second attempt, as it begins with detailing the sowing of salt through my profile.
You see, Facebook don’t want to be responsible for deleting your data. So they ask you to delete it. All of it.
Lachlan is no longer friends with Paul C.
Lachlan is no longer friends with Kevin R.
Lachlan is no longer in a relationship with…
Endlessly. In my news feed and that of all my remaining contacts. My fiance was particularly unimpressed with the last one.
I received a number of concerned emails, texts, and one call asking how I could be so silly as to lose the best thing that ever happened to me only weeks from the wedding.
Eventually it was done. I was free and clear. An unmarked man.
Today I created an account to check some facts for this article and received an email with the subject:
”Welcome back to Facebook”.
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@paulwiggins Ha. Actually, I like hiding away with a quality read. The internet used to be a guilty pleasure, now it's the other way round.
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