Well, maybe not. According to an article in The New York Times, what happens in Facebook stays in Facebook. Actually, those are my words. Here’s from the article written by Maria Aspan:
While the Web site offers users the option to deactivate their accounts, Facebook servers keep copies of the information in those accounts indefinitely. Indeed, many users who have contacted Facebook to request that their accounts be deleted have not succeeded in erasing their records from the network.
And c’mon, you have to love this quote from the article:
“It’s like the Hotel California” said Nipon Das, 34, a director at a biotechnology consulting firm in Manhattan, who tried unsuccessfully to delete his account this fall. “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”
I didn’t try to contact anyone at Facebook about this. Maybe I should have just to try to make sure that the article presents a fair representation of this situation. But Aspan did and Facebook management doesn’t appear to be unresponsive or unsympathetic to this concern.
Still, this is going to remain an issue involving personal privacy as marketing organizations and advertisers go to social networking sites to get the readily available personal information that we all voluntarily disclose these days. That troubles me more than a little. Even though I’m sure marketers and advertisers were able to develop similar profiles long before Al Gore invented the Internet.
And I know this to be true. Many employers these days go to Facebook and MySpace for a look at job applicants before they even consider a personal interview.
So don’t forget the words of Sgt. Phil Esterhaus on the hit TV show Hill Street Blues:
“Let’s be careful out there.”