Many Facebook users are considering deleting their accounts, as #deleteFacebook trends on social media. This stems from the recent sandal involving the research firm, Cambridge Analytica, that collected and analyzed data from over 50 million Facebook users without their consent. Although users are eager to cut their ties to Facebook all together, the New York Times point out that the solution is not as simple as deleting your account.
Facebook’s reach beyond their platform is described in a video published by the New York Times. Deleting your Facebook account can effect other accounts that are connected through your profile. For instance, Spotify and Instagram accounts can be logged into through Facebook. If you delete your Facebook account, these accounts will simultaneously deleted. In addition, there are some apps, like Tinder, that are not accessible without a Facebook account. Once aware of the hassle of reorganizing their other social media accounts, Facebook users may think twice before clicking delete.
Even if you do decide to delete your account, there are still ways in which Facebook can collect data on you. The New York Times uses the example that if your friend allows Facebook or Facebook Messenger to access their contacts, Facebook has your information and can track you. In addition, the data that was collected while you were active on Facebook is never erased. Any information you gave third parties permission to through Facebook is still accessible. The only way to escape Facebook entirely is to manually block each URL that Facebook collects data through, which is an extremely tedious task.
For those reasons, Buzzfeed provides alternative options that control the data you give to Facebook. For example, logging out of Facebook before exiting the page prevents the Facebook Pixel software from tracking your web activity. Most websites that have a Facebook ‘like’ button have a pixel and are reporting to Facebook about what you browse on their page. Buzzfeed also suggests deactivating your Facebook account before you decide to delete it. This can serve as a test for if you really need the account. In today’s society, the sacrifices of contributing data may be outweighed by the necessity to remain digitally engaged.