Yes I am one of the estimated 500 million active users of Facebook. I don’t even remember when I first joined Facebook but I do remember when it still required a .edu email address. At work we had to contact the local university and obtain a fictitious email account so we could sign up look around. Eventually Facebook opened to the public and eventually I opened a personal account.

The account grew out of control with updates and privacy issues. I found updates were being sent to all of my friends seemingly about everything I did on Facebook. So I deleted my account. At least I thought I did…

It turns out Facebook is kind of like America Online of the old days. I say that because AOL was horrible in the sense that once you installed the program, settings and data stayed on your computer even if you uninstalled the program. The thought process was the customer would come back to AOL so the “reinstall” would go so much faster if the information just stayed on the computer. It turns out Facebook kind of has the same “they’ll be back” philosophy.

The Facebook Help Center explains it like this…

If you deactivate your account from the “Deactivate Account” section on the Account page, your profile and all information associated with it are immediately made inaccessible to other Facebook users. What this means is that you effectively disappear from the Facebook service. However, if you want to reactivate at some point, we do save your profile information (friends, photos, interests, etc.), and your account will look just the way it did when you deactivated if you decide to reactivate it.

The ability to deactivate your account at will and have it reactivated just by signing in again may be a blessing in disguise. Deactivation takes one extra click. You no longer will be found by those searching for you but you will also no longer receive all of the updates or have your private information leaked out.

It may not be practical for everyone but it is an option to “effectively disappear” for awhile.

Other side notes:

Even if you want to permanently delete your account you can’t without sending them a request after logging in. What if they deny your request to delete your account?

I started to Google “How do I’d” and didn’t even have to get past the “d” before suggestion of “how do I delete my facebook account” popped up as the suggestion. Try it yourself and see what happens.

Check your privacy settings closely. Some mobile upload albums seemed to be shared with “friends of friends” by default even though your settings say friends only.

UPDATE – This idea must have gotten around as now to deactivate you have to enter your password and two word images along with a couple “Yes I’m Sure” type warnings.