Facebook Suicide.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on September 19, 2007

People are killing off their Facebook profiles in droves, according to this great online piece in The Times. And in keeping with the collective social networking culture, they are starting Facebook suicide clubs online.

One major reason for the mass executions is the opening up of Facebook and the loss of privacy (or at least the loss of small group privacy among friends). With recent changes, Facebook is now both a personal and professional social networking site. So your employer can poke around and see pictures of you and ex having fun in stupid ways, for example. And professionals in your business can send you email about job-related things—and poke around in your personal stuff.

The wonderful Jessie Hempel, who used to work with me on the Innovation & Design team and recently left for the dark side (Fortune), was the first to point out the shift from amateur to professional going on within the social media space.

The first breach in Facebook privacy came when the site opened itself up to applications and developers could get access to personal data. But you could use applications to protect your privacy.

Now, Facebook user profiles are searchable through Google and anyone has access to your songs, friends, pictures, and other very, very personal information. So privacy for many is being invaded. Hence, the deaths of so many profiles.

And thanks to Mark Vanderbeeken at experientia for the tip.

Are we ending the open commons of social networking? Is the shift from amateur to profession changing the nature of social media?
Peter Mortensen over at Jump has a paper he’s going to give at the DUX 2007 conference on user experience in Chicago in November describing how we are basically facing an identity crisis on the web and especially in social media. People no long can prove who they are (identities are being hijacked or faked). People can no longer protect their privacy. And marketing folks (and employers and other business types) are invading what were once open commons within the social networks. Trust is being broken so people are putting up walls—or fleeing.

Reader Comments

jane

September 22, 2007 10:30 AM

I am desperate to delete myself from facebook. How do I get rid?

Valeria Maltoni

September 23, 2007 10:41 PM

Bruce:

I wrote about privacy in one of my recent Fast Company posts... it's a big concern. With who owns your data as a parallel issue [see thread here http://blog.fastcompany.com/experts/vmaltoni/ ]

The next killer app will be the one that lets the user stay in the driver seat.

Joel Froese

September 29, 2007 3:23 PM

I believe that deleting your profile is an overreaction. Why not just edit/censor it for all possible audiences? One shouldn't put anything on the Internet with their real name on it unless they are comfortable having anyone read, because that's exactly what will happen--eventually!

Furthermore, this younger generation (that is in college now) are used to living their life online, and eventually having a drunk, half-naked picture of oneself floating around on the net will no longer be an issue even to the leaders of this generation (just as having a tattoo will be normal for the soccer moms of the next decade.)

I do understand that in Facebook, your friends can "tag" you in (possibly compromising) photos, and leave embarrassing comments on your page; you just have to be vigilant about this, and delete these (or even delete the "friend" who is doing this!)

Pedro fp

May 23, 2008 3:43 AM

To delete yourself completely from Facebook first go to http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?submit&show_form=delete_account when you submit the form you will be sent a confirmation email. Your account will be deleted 2 to 3 days following your acting on the confirmation email.

Max Fiction

August 4, 2009 7:35 PM

Long on Face, Short on Book - My Experience on Facebook and Why I Quit:

http://maximumfiction.wordpress.com/2009/08/04/long-on-face-short-on-book/

maslam

November 5, 2009 8:49 AM

some people are getting personal and abusive

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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