Facebook is a big part of millions and millions of peoples' lives, but what happens when you pull the plug? Last night I met a man who walked to the edge of the cliff and nearly deactivated his Facebook account. He took a screenshot of what he saw after clicking the "deactivate my account" link on his account page - and it is pretty far-out.
That man considered quitting Facebook because it was having an adverse emotional impact on him and I'll spare him and his contacts from posting the screenshot he shared with me. I have posted below though a shot of the screen I saw when I clicked that button myself. Check it out. I bet you haven't seen this screen before, have you?
Can you believe that? How incredibly manipulative! And what claims to make. Facebook has undoubtedly made it easier to keep in touch with people than almost any other technology on the planet, but to say that leaving Facebook means your friends "will no longer be able to keep in touch with you" is just wrong. Facebook often says little things like this that read like it thinks it has a monopoly on human connection.
Apparently my wife's good friend and one of my co-workers are really going to miss me if I leave, though. That photo of Frederic my co-worker, that isn't even his profile photo. That's a photo where he and I were both tagged. At least it didn't say my wife would miss me! According to one report this Spring, adding these photos of friends has kept 1 million people per year from deactivating their account.
Admittedly, this is also kind of funny at the same time.
This is just loaded with obnoxiousness. "I have a privacy concern" is listed as one of the reasons people might be leaving. I think it's more likely that people would say "I don't think my privacy is being protected on Facebook" or some similar general statement, but leave it to Facebook to frame and minimize peoples' concerns even as they walk out the door.
Just below the text box where departing users are asked to provide further explanation why they are leaving is a button you can click to select this option:
Opt out of receiving future emails from Facebook.
Note: Even after you deactivate, your friends can still invite you to events, tag you in photos, or ask you to join groups. If you opt out, you will NOT receive these email invitations and notifications from your friends.
Amazing, by default, even after you cancel your Facebook account, Facebook will still keep emailing you, unless you opt out.
Of course you too can go the the edge and not jump off. Go see who Facebook thinks would miss you if you were gone. It's ok, I've clicked the "deactivate my account" link 4 times today and just stopped short of hitting the ultimate button. The pictures changed sometimes but they were always people I really do know fairly well.
I'm not about to actually deactivate my Facebook account, even though the company drives me crazy. I like using it to keep in touch with people outside of tech, I think it's important to challenge the company's policies when warranted and let's face it - I don't have it in me to break the hearts of those four people above who would miss me if I left!