Facebook Two-Step

As discussed previously (here, here, here, here, and here) when it comes to issues of user information and privacy Facebook has shown an unerring ability to get things right, sort of, only after it gets things really wrong. The latest example surfaced last weekend when the New York Times reported that “[s]ome users have discovered that it is nearly impossible to remove themselves entirely from Facebook, setting off a fresh round of concern over the popular social network’s use of personal data.” When users deactivated their accounts Facebook kept “copies of the information in those accounts indefinitely.” Said former Facebook account holder Nipon Das “”It’s like the Hotel California . . . You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.” On Wednesday came the story that following the inevitable creation of a Facebook user group protesting retention of account content the company “modified its help pages to tell people that if they wanted to remove their accounts entirely, they can direct the company by e-mail to have it done. But . . . representatives of Facebook stopped short of saying the company would introduce a one-step delete account option.”

This is the dark side of Web 2.0/social networking sites. Users may create the content but it is controlled by and treated as the property of the networking sites.

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