More users delete Facebook accounts over privacy concerns

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Deleting Facebook accounts has become a top Google search term as Facebook methodically strips away the barriers to personal profile information. Flickr photo.

If you’re thinking about deleting your facebook account forever, join the crowd. In April, Facebook launched new features that extend the personal information of Facebook users from their friends and network to the Internet at large. Concerns are growing about Facebook privacy issues and what Facebook is doing with personal information. Privacy advocates, politicians and web superstars are publicly announcing they are deleting their Facebook accounts.

Deleting Facebook accounts for privacy’s sake

More people are deleting Facebook accounts forever because most of their personal information is now fair game unless they manually block it. Blogger Mat McKeon reports that when Facebook was founded, way back in 2005, it restricted a user’s personal information to just friends and their network. Over the past couple of years, the default Facebook privacy settings for a user’s personal information have become as permissive as same day payday loans. Now everything but your contact information and birthday can be accessed by anyone. Facebook has also changed how your personal information is classified several times in ways that many users see as deliberately confusing.

Update your Facebook privacy settings

McKeon isn’t deleting his Facebook account or suggesting anyone else should. He identifies with Facebook’s effort to make money off the information it gathers by providing a free service. But he strongly advocates double and triple checking your privacy settings for a personal profile that could be revealing everything from where you live to the movies you like and the people you trust. The Wall Street Journal reports that some high-profile members of the tech community, such as Google search-engine guru Matt Cutts and Engadget co-founder Peter Rojas, have announced in recent weeks that they were deactivating their Facebook accounts, a step that shuts down but doesn’t delete the Facebook account completely.

How do I delete my Facebook account forever?

To delete your Facebook account forever isn’t as simple as point and click. Facebook makes it pretty easy to deactivate your account, which will temporarily hide your information. But according to wikiHow, if you want to permanently remove your information, the “permanent delete” option is much harder to find. This wikiHow article answers the question:  How do I delete my Facebook account forever?

Facebook privacy issues

“Delete Facebook account” has been a top search term on Google recently. ABC News reports that the latest backlash started brewing after Facebook’s developer conference a few weeks ago. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled several changes he said would make the Web more social and personalized by expanding Facebook’s presence to other sites. On thousands of sites a “social plug-in” now lets users “like” content and see what their Facebook friends have liked, directly from those sites.

Facebook privacy violations

By default, now Facebook gives third-party companies access to members’ names, friend lists and hobbies to “personalize” their surfing experience. When a Facebook user logs onto a site with the Facebook social plug-in, the content displayed is shaped by the personal information in their Facebook account, as well as the the personal information of their friends. To disable this feature, a manual opt-out is required.

Facebook privacy advocates

People upset about Facebook privacy policies have a powerful legislator on their side. “With great power comes great responsibility, and sites like Facebook have great responsibility,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said at a news conference a week after Facebook’s announcements. “In my view, it ought to be the user who determines who gets what information, not Facebook.” Schumer asked the Federal Trade Commission to create guidelines for Facebook and other social networks to follow.

Many delete Facebook account forever

Facebook hasn’t been adept at handling its latest public relations problem related to privacy. In a Q&A session with readers of the New York Times this week Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s vice president for public policy, responded to privacy concerns by saying that participating in Facebook is “a choice.” He said “Please don’t share if you’re not comfortable.”

A lot of people are taking his advice.