Lots of testing going on with the big dogs today. First Twitter flirts with embedding photos and videos in tweet streams, and now Facebook is experimenting with an actual Delete Account (as opposed to Deactivate Account) function.
I JUST WANT TO QUIT
As you may know, Facebook recently hit their 500 million user mark. This is probably because the platform is exploding with popularity, but maybe it's also a little bit because until recently, figuring out how to actually delete your account was a feat of humanity.
Moreover, in the past, even if you managed to find the buried Delete Account page, you'd still have to go two weeks without touching your account before the process was complete. This was a great feature for the impulsive deleter, but it certainly wasn't popular when all those privacy concerns were going around.
This morning's rumor was that the upcoming Delete Account function will permanently delete your account and all the associated information you have shared. The upcoming feature was then confirmed this afternoon by a Facebook representative:
…we are constantly testing new ideas, including the placement of various features. One of these recent tests included variations of the delete account option for a very small percentage of people.
It's worth it to note, however, that Facebook’s terms of service still allow the site to keep all acquired information. Whether or not that will be be altered, remains unclear.
Giving the People What They Want
Regardless of the reason, the fact remains that Facebook is the largest social network ever (who's planning on watching the movie?). From that angle, it may seem silly to release a Delete Account feature at this time, especially when founder Mark Zuckerberg predicts his network will hit 1 billion users over the next year or so. Perhaps this has more to do with wanting to give the people what they think they want.
Surprisingly, Facebook was recently dinged for ranking lower than both the airline industry and the cable television business in customer satisfaction. In fact, in a recent survey about what there was to like and not like about more than 200 companies (compiled by the University of Michigan), it was revealed that Facebook received the second-lowest score. Meanwhile, MySpace came in dead last.
An fast and easy Account Delete feature might silence a few mouths, but then again, maybe it won't. After all, some of the biggest petitions against Facebook are in the form of Facebook Groups. As in, groups of people on Facebook.
Facebook hasn't said when and if it will roll this feature out to everyone, but keep an eye out. Also, if you're among the dissatisfied and would go as far as permanently deleting your account, tell us why.