The latest admission from Facebook that up to 87million Facebook users may have had their information “improperly shared” with Cambridge Analytica is a sharp increase on the 50 million estimate that had previously been touted.
In Australia the Australian Privacy Commissioner has launched a formal investigation into the improper sharing of the data of Aussie Facebook users that could lead to a hefty fine and new regulations, if the Aussie commissioner decides it is just not cricket.
In New Zealand no figures has emerged to indicate the likely number of accounts whose data has been shared, and the USA Facebook users are by far the largest segment involved or hit with the problem. Nevertheless there are at least 12 million users affected outside of the US, so anyone using a Facebook account could have been impacted, in fact Facebook warns that “most users” have had their data harvested by third party apps..
If you have second thoughts about using your account because of the endless controversies such as fake news, and manipulation of voters in the US and bearing in mind that this time the data breach was not a hack, but rather a wake-up call for us all about the use of our private information by third parties, you may now be considering deleting your Facebook account.
Before you do be aware that it is permanent and irreversible, out goes your photos, posts, messages and other data that no longer will be available to you.
But if you have had enough of Facebook and really want to ditch your account this is what you do:
First you’ll want to know what information Facebook is holding on you and you might want to download a copy: Open your facebook page, then
- Click at the top right of the page and select Settings
- Click Download a copy of your Facebook data at the bottom of General Account Settings
- Click Start My Archive
Because this download contains your profile information, you should keep it secure and be careful when storing, sending or uploading it to any other services and if you have a lot stored it may take some time to download.
If you just want to delete your account:
Open your browser and enter: www.facebook.com/help/delete_account [note the underscore between ‘’delete’ and ‘account’], this brings up a ‘Delete my Account’ box, click on the ‘Delete My Account’ button.
A new box appears and you will be asked for your Facebook password and to fill in a displayed code in a box, then click OK. Confirm that you want to delete the account.
It is then goodbye Facebook, but it takes a few weeks to completely delete your account, and please do not attempt to log back in during that time as your account will reactivate apparently.
That’s it. Unless you feel tempted by it sitting on your iPhone or iPad or other smartphone in which case you should uninstall it from there to gain extra storage space. You are not entirely cut off from the world by your action, there is still a phone, texting, Skype, FaceTime, Morse code, smoke signals or homing pigeons if you need to contact your family or friends.
And give some thought to your Instagram and Snapchat accounts too!
Come out, smell the fresh air, enjoy living.