Facebook: Backup & Delete

It’s a new year, it’s my birthday, it’s time to start on a fresh page, and for me that’s not going to be a Facebook page. After last year reading The Silent Number’s blog post about deleting your Facebook account on your birthday I decided that’s exactly what I would do.

His post gives you a lot of reasons to delete your account as well as detailed information on how to go about it. It also talks about how to do it in such a way as to make a big impact, hopefully convincing some of your friends to join you on the way out. The main things you need to know are:

  1. Go to your Facebook account settings and click Download a copy of your Facebook data at the bottom of the page
  2. When you’re done go to this page to permanently delete your account (not just deactivate)

Mass selecting friends on Facebook to raise awareness

In the original article it mentions using browser plug-ins which no longer seem to exist. They’re supposed to allow you to select all your friends at once to raise awareness of your departure and the reasons for it. Old JavaScript methods won’t work as of 2011 but there is another method which uses pre-recorded macros. It requires the iMacros plug-in for Firefox and a script file which is downloadable from a link below their instructions on how to use it. This method will always work because the computer actually selects each friend one-by-one, just as if you were doing it, but faster.

You can’t really get your friends’ e-mail addresses

If you thought when you downloaded “all your data” from Facebook that it would include your friends’ e-mail addresses so that you can keep in contact… think again! As TechCrunch points out, your friends’ addresses are considered private and won’t be given to you unless it’s set as public on their profile (unlikely). Unfortunately their workaround using a Yahoo! mail account doesn’t seem to work any more. If you have an account with Yahoo! you can get your friends’ addresses imported into it, you just can’t get them out to use them elsewhere. If anyone has a good solution to this, please let me know so I can put it up here!

Alternative Social Networks

Some of the reasons for leaving Facebook include it not being free software and being annoying, especially with regards to the community and the adverts as well as some big privacy concerns and a lot of other criticisms. Two great alternative Social Networks are reddit and Identi.ca, both of which are open-source and have great social communities. However, as Michael Robinson points out on his blog, there is more to the web than social media and I agree think it would be nice if people could take a bit of the time that they usually spend on social media, and spend it instead on reading, sharing, writing about and commenting on blogs!

That said, there’s a lot more to do besides writing LOL on Facebook all day and there are plenty more ways to keep in touch with friends and family. I feel good on my first day of “freedom”! Please let me know in the comments area below if this article helped you —you don’t have to sign up to make comments— and if you have any suggestions then please don’t be shy! 🙂