Facebook released detailed explanations on how users can alter their account information or jettison their profiles from the social network. Under the revised policy, users may change or delete their profile information. The deletion of data on Facebook has been a sticky issue for the company in the past, with users believing that once they deleted their accounts, their Facebook data was nuked from the Internet. Facebook said that when users remove information from their profile or delete their account, copies of that information may exist with the friends that data has been shared with, or who may have copied or stored the data.
Facebook made good on its pledge to revise and clarify
alter their account information or erase their profiles from the social
Facebook calls this the next step on the path to "run
Facebook in an open and transparent way," a goal the company began working
toward earlier this year after the Privacy Commissioner of Canada asked Facebook
to clarify its privacy practices.
"Specifically, we've included sections that further
explain the privacy setting you can choose to make your content viewable by
everyone, the difference between deactivating and deleting your account and the
process of memorializing an account once we've received a report that the
account holder is deceased," wrote Elliot Schrage, Facebook's vice president of
communications and public policy, in a blog post
Facebook explains in detail how users may change or delete their
profile information, including their friends, photos and videos, at any time by
going to their profile page and clicking "Edit My Profile." Changes
made will be updated immediately.
Users who want to stop using their account can halt it on
account settings page
or even delete it by going here
. Facebook saves the profile information of users who elect to deactivate
their accounts so that the users can easily reactivate their profiles later. Users
who opt to delete their account get exactly what they wish for; it is
The deletion of data on Facebook has been a sticky issue
for the company in the past, with users believing that once they deleted their
accounts, their Facebook data was nuked from the Internet.
Where Facebook has done a much, much better job is making
it clear that even deleted data may be alive elsewhere. After all, this is the
Web, where published data is copied and cached ad nauseum. First, removed and
deleted data may exist in backup copies for up to 90 days, even though Facebook
will not make this info available to others.
Also -- and this is important -- Facebook said that when
users remove information from their profile or delete their account, copies of that
information may exist with the friends that data has been shared with, or
who may have copied or stored the data.
"However, your name will no longer be associated
with that information on Facebook," wrote Schrage. "For example, if
you post something to another user's profile, and then you delete your account,
that post may remain, but be attributed to an "Anonymous Facebook User.
Additionally, we may retain certain information to prevent identity theft and
other misconduct even if deletion has been requested."
Moreover, for users who have passed away, Facebook is
inviting friends and family to memorialize
their deceased loved ones' accounts by e-mailing the company via
. By memorializing the account of someone who has passed away, people will
no longer see that person appear in their Suggestions. Facebook will also set
privacy so that only confirmed friends can see the profile or locate it in
Facebook also took steps to explain how its social ads
work. Social ads are shown to Facebook users that include relevant info about
their friends. For example, if a user become a fan of a Page promoting a
product, their friends may see an ad that includes that information.
However, the information Facebook provides to advertisers
about its users anonymized. For example, Schrage noted that Facebook won't tell
an advertiser that a user clicked on an ad, but it could report that 63 of 100
people who clicked on an ad were female.
This is old news to social media buffs, but the lay user is not
likely to be aware of how the social ads work, which is why it's
important that Facebook is calling attention to it now when it has 300
encourages users to read the privacy update and leave comments on the Facebook
Site Governance Page before the comment period ends at 12 p.m. PST on