What they don't teach you in college: How to quit Facebook

How to quit FacebookThere has been a lot of talk lately concerning the ethics of Facebook's privacy policy. And it seems there are just as many critics as supporters. Popular opinion ranges from folks criticizing the social network's corporate approach to user information as lucrative marketing fodder, to defenders of the popular page -- who assert that what you share on Facebook is up to you.

As Internet users want to avoid scams, rip-offs, and hackers, the debate has spawned an Internet-wide conversation on the topic and even inspired new social networking sites, such as the open source network, Diaspora to pop up on the Web. A top 10 list for reasons you should quit Facebook appeared earlier this month on Gizmodo.com, and there is a campaign called Quit Facebook Day with committed quitters counting down to the last day in May.

Still, many Facebook users remain loyal.

"I feel that most of this 'controversy' is really the product of people not understanding their social tools," said Kevin Bolander, a 22-year-old Columbia College student studying interactive arts and media. "I have deleted my account in the past. Now I embrace Facebook. They only know what you tell them."

The recent upheaval started at the end of the month when Facebook revised its privacy policy. Shortly thereafter, a glitch in Facebook's system allowed users to access their friend's private conversations. Facebook acted quickly to resolve the problem, but has taken a beating in the media ever since.

A few days before his 26th birthday, billionaire and co-founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg had to deflect aggressive media accusations after a leaked script from the movie, "The Social Network," has reportedly depicted him a negative light. Facebook held an emergency all-employee meeting Thursday, May 13 to discuss its privacy issue.

Despite the latest movement (or perhaps fad) to lambast Facebook, some users are already shakey on the whole social network lifestyle in the first place.

"Recent issues with privacy on Facebook have not changed my use of the site, but other things have. As I am going into the professional world ... I have become very careful with what I put on Facebook and who I allow to see and search my page," said Becca Katz, 22, a recent Loyola University of Chicago grad.

"I think about deleting my Facebook account on about a monthly basis. Either I will be applying for a job or I will hear a horror story about someone who didn't get a job or got fired because of things on their Facebook [page], and I will consider erasing it," Katz added.

So, whether you decide to delete your Facebook account due the purported mass exodus of the site, because you are plain uncomfortable with sharing personal information anymore, or because you just want to know how to do it, here is what you need to completely delete your Facebook account-- it's a little tricky, so pay attention.

To completely erase all of the information attached to your page, you have to delete your account. Deactivating your page still allows Facebook to access your personal information and it's still possible for you to be tagged in pictures.

The simple method of deleting your Facebook account:

1. Remove Facebook Connect logins.
Many sites such as Digg.com and Eventbrite.com, allow sign-up and login using Facebook Connect. If you have accounts on such sites, delete them first. Make sure you don't have to log in through Facebook Connect. It is likely you have to create a username and password on the site if you haven't already. Logout of the account, then log back in using the alternate method (i.e.- DO NOT use Facebook Connect). This ensures that you will be able to access the account after you delete your Facebook account.

2. Copy this link and paste it in your browser: https://ssl.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=delete_account. Then, click "submit" and fill out your password and the Captcha.

3. Do not log in to Facebook for 14 days. Otherwise, your account will be reactivated. This means, DO NOT click the Facebook, Share or Like buttons on other pages, and do not use Facebook Connect.

You can also search the FAQs on Facebook to find the link shared above.
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