Note: For many, what I’m saying is as obvious as “fire burns, water makes things wet.” Really, the point of this thread is to highlight just how much and to what degree Facebook is trying to prevent us from:
Deleting our information, messages, etc.
Creating a new account in the most anonymous way possible.
I’ve been part of this community for years now. I feel deeply connected to the values we share here. And the more time passes, the more I’ve tried to delete more and more of my activity on social media and messaging apps, starting with the most intrusive one: Facebook (an account I created when I was barely 12 years old).
I’ve read a fair amount about the deletion process, which isn’t necessarily straightforward since just deleting my account won’t necessarily remove my information like posts, mentions, etc. that could still show up in Google.
So I started by deleting all my old comments, posts, likes - it took some time.
Something curious: after deleting a certain number of comments, I got a Facebook “error” message saying I couldn’t continue, that I had to enter my password to “verify it’s me.” Seems fair.
Anyway, after 2-3 days (with 30-minute deletion sessions each time), I finally managed to delete all my public “interventions” on Facebook (I know that’s not enough and I also need to change my info, put in fake stuff, etc.)
First thing to notice: Facebook doesn’t include a feature to delete all your comments at once. We’re forced to delete them manually, with limited selection - obviously they did that on purpose to discourage us from deleting our past activity.
After public interventions, I decided to move on to private messages: delete as many of my private messages as possible.
For that I used a “Shoot the Messenger” script, devilishly effective, but even with that it still takes an insane amount of time, because we can only delete messages one by one (impossible to select several at once).
For example, it took me at least 6-7 hours straight just to delete ONE conversation (that’s pretty old, but still), if Facebook had allowed multi-select that would have been much less constraining for users.
Second thing to notice: Just like with public interventions, it’s not possible to self-destruct all your messages at once, which is pretty problematic because even if you delete your account, everyone you wrote to can still see your messages in clear text. So this is also why Facebook intentionally wants us to delete as little as possible.
Finally, once all that was done, I figured I’d create a Facebook account in the most anonymous way possible in case I ever needed it someday (using TOR browser, on their onion site, with a SimpleLogin alias, not using my real first name, etc.) But when I went to create the account, it didn’t work because I couldn’t verify it.
So I figured maybe it would work over VPN. I launched Mullvad Browser with a VPN, went to Facebook’s “non-onion” site, and when I clicked “Sign Up” - Facebook told me my account was blocked.
They kindly suggest I can “appeal” via my account, which I did, and guess what? They ask for my personal phone number (which I didn’t give, I used a burner number they don’t have), once I submitted the verification code, they ask me to take a photo of my face(?) supposedly for security reasons, blah blah blah (knowing that if I gave it, they could obviously tie me back to my previous account using facial recognition), so I went to “thispersondoesnotexist” to give them a picture of a guy who doesn’t exist, praying it would work.
I got the response to my “Appeal” 1 day later: denied, my account permanently blocked.
Facebook does everything to: both minimize user privacy and everything to collect as much info about me to try to cross-reference it with an account I may already have with them - which is pretty frustrating because you simply can’t create a totally random account.