Reader Amy Campbell has had enough. She writes:
I just heard that Facebook not only tracks everything you post, but also things you’ve chosen not to. That’s a little too creepy for me and I want to delete my account. How do I do that?
According to a report by Jennifer Goldbeck written for Slate, Facebook does indeed keep tabs on when people enter text in the Facebook browser interface and then choose to not share it (a practice the company terms “self censorship"). However—again according to the Slate article—the company doesn’t collect the text you type, only when you fail to share it.
If this specific behavior creeps you out you might instead choose to compose your Facebook messages in a text editor. When you’re sure that you want to share them, paste that text into your browser and post. That will prevent the service from tracking aborted messages. However, if this is a “last straw” kind of decision, read on.
I left Facebook nearly four years ago because of its casual attitude toward its users’ privacy and nothing I’ve seen since has convinced me that this was a mistake. So, I sympathise. Fortunately, it’s easy to leave.
To do so, travel to Facebook’s Delete Account page. You’ll be required to log into your account with your username and password. Once you have, choose the option to delete your account. You’ll be required to enter your password once again as well as enter some captcha text.
Do so, confirm that you want out, and you’ll learn that your account will be deleted in two weeks. This provides you with the opportunity to think it over. If you decide you don’t wish to leave after all, just return to this page and click a Cancel Deletion button.
Note that there’s a difference between deleting and deactivating a Facebook account. When you delete it, Facebook no longer uses the content it held and you can’t recover it (Facebook suggest that you download your information before deleting an account). When you deactivate an account your timeline and associated information disappears but it’s not gone. Rather, it’s in a state of suspended animation. You can later return and reactivate it by logging on with your associated email address and password.