Really folks, I’m not usually someone who posts rabid tirades against companies.  Well, I did work very hard to debug the 1969 bug (and several subsequent bugs) for BitDefender, who did not appreciate the publicity despite my best intentions.

But my forays into these arenas are the exception.

However, this whole Facebook Privacy Issue really has me going (see previous posts Eroding Privacy, Info are now Connections and your friends are sharing your info).

I found another privacy issue with Facebook I’ve not seen addressed elsewhere about the information it saves, but I’m guessing on a hack to address it.  The We Save Information Forever issue.

Stuff we know about eroding and inappropriate Facebook privacy

This post is more about getting info OUT of Facebook rather than the explicit private information sharing.  Because Facebook CONTINUES to ask me to make pages out of ancient information.

Many links with information and instructions about ALL the privacy issues are listed at the bottom of this post.

First, we know that if you “deactivate” your account, nothing is deleted.  It’s still there.  Facebook assumes you’ve just taken a vacation, and as soon as you log back in, viola!  It’s all there where you left off!

Second, we know that if you “delete” your account (which is significantly harder to figure out how to do), again, Facebook doesn’t delete it.  You must NOT LOG INTO YOUR ACCOUNT for a minimum of 2 weeks.  Again Facebook assumes you’ll come running back because you can’t kick the addiction.  Others have reported that even the two week “grace” period doesn’t always work.

Third, we know that Facebook has turned all your “Info” (About Me, Work and Education, Likes and Interests, Pages) into connections as part of the new F8 Instant Personalization initiative.  And that if you don’t agree to participate, they will delete all your profile information (see my screen shot below).

In other words, if you want your info there for your FRIENDS to see, you have to let Facebook turn it into connections that EVERYONE ELSE can see.  Including Facebook “partners.”  You know, for that whole monetizing your “personal” information thingie.  See my post with explicit pictures (not those kind!) showing Facebook’s strong arm tactics to pressure you into making your information public.

Fourth - as a “side effect” of these three, Facebook now bugs me incessantly to “update my profile.”

And because I choose not to populate this information, EVERY TIME I VISIT MY PROFILE, Facebook throws it in my face.  There’s no option to say “STOP ASKING ME THIS!  I TOLD YOU NO!”

To help me along with those special “we matched your current profile info to related pages” suggestion, it suggests groups for EDUCATIONAL ENTRIES I DELETED LAST YEAR.

Let me repeat - in the above screen shot, Facebook says “CURRENT PROFILE INFORMATION.”  Excuse me, but the education information below is NOT current.  (Well, not current in MY version of my profile, but clearly current in FACEBOOK’S version of my profile.)

This should scare you.

And, it shows me this screen EVERY TIME.  With the boxes already pre-checked to show I want these returned to my profile and turned into page links.  And each time I uncheck them.  (I also, sadly, explicitly deleted all my fan pages linking to high school, old interests, etc.)

Can’t we tell Facebook that No Means No?

So, even if you delete information way more than 2 weeks ago, and you’re still a Facebook member … well … Facebook STILL holds onto it.  But this time, forever.  (Or until you manage to delete your entire account.)

So what new thing are you suggesting?

Actually, I DID report on this before, but I didn’t think of a possible hack fix until now.

Duh, simply create ALL NEW INFORMATION for each one of these entries, and assume (I know) with fingers-crossed that the new info overwrites the old info.  (Yeah, it’s on a backup server somewhere…but it would now be one more layer removed from the more Clean And Fresh You.)

I’ll check this over time and see if anything changes, and will let you know.  Somehow I suspect it won’t, but it’s like the first level of defense in removing information from your hard drive.  Overwrite it.  But I’ve no doubt that Facebook will dig deeper when enough of us begin removing all that Useful Monetization Information.

References

Here are several How-To links I’ve found useful and informative during this whole privacy journey.  More are coming out day by day so this list will get stale quickly, but it’s a start for those of you just embarking on understanding and controlling your Facebook privacy.

Mine:

Rant about Facebook’s New Strong-Arm Anti-Privacy Upgrade

Eroding Facebook Privacy - More Hidden Things You Must Do

Elsewhere:

A guide to protecting your information on the New Facebook