As I remarked in a previous tweet, people these days seem surprised when you say you’re not on The Book. So, as I came back after seeing a friend and yet another person asked me to add them as a friend on Facebook, I thought I might reconsider my previous position.

So I signed up… typed in my name, email address etc… and what did I see?

I saw a list of “suggested friends”, which was essentially everyone I knew before I deleted my account, as well as a bunch of people I knew but hadn’t connected to.. the social graph in action I guess.

I would be interested to find out where this information was obtained if my account was truly deleted, from my former connections? But surely, I could be any Marcus Povey? True, emails are “unique”, but I’m fairly sure that at least half of the suggested connections never knew my email address (social graph again)… besides, that’s missing the point.

To be clear, at the very least Facebook is remembering my name/age or email address as unique identifiers, and who I am connected to. So while the delete account option may remove your pictures etc, it clearly doesn’t remove the connection data – which I have previously stated is actually quite a powerful and private bit of information.

Am I alone in being a little freaked out by this?

Clearly, even though they provide a way of deleting your account, much of the important connective information is retained. Your account still isn’t being deleted.

In other words; “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave”.

Suffice it to say, I reconsidered my reconsideration. I deleted my account again (for what good it will do), my first instinct was correct.

I guess people are just going to have to email me.

Old Skool.

2 thoughts on “Facebook’s long memory: Hotel California still in place…

  1. So, I have a similar issue with privacy and have been resistant to embrace Facebook till recently. I think I have a social solution to the problem of aggregation of relationships and marketing – create a SNR(signal to noise ratio) or fake your data.

    For instance, all my friends and real relationships know my gender. I am not sure why it is important Facebook know my gender. So, put the opposite gender in for the data. I think this is a rather interesting problem for social networks. Do they use historical data to determine your gender or do they go from the current value? In any case, when I use female, I get female ads which are not very distracting since I am not really at all interested in that content aside from curiosity that I am being marketed feminine hygiene products. This lowers the value on ads if they are not targeted correctly because some computer algorithm is ultimately completely stupid aside from its instructions given it by a hu-mon. Maybe an interesting idea here is that humans know, where as social networks need to divine. So, screw up the looking glass. Change your age, eye color, religion, city you live in, etc. Even though I am sure there are smart individuals that will come up with great algorithms to divine information, there job is a lot more difficult now and approximate at best.

    Considering the picture and face recognition software: a software app should be created that can inject peoples faces into fake pictures that mis-identify the individuals in the picture and therefore creates bad relationships.

    A con to this is if you need the information for creating relationships that do not exist yet. For instance, I do not really want to indicate I am female on a dating social network. Another is if you want people to be able to search for you based on criteria. But you still can search for people with interests in basketball. Your identity matters little if you want to discuss a hobby.

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