Facebook Dark Pattern: Your Deleted Account Is Still Live

Posted By Debbie on April 5, 2018

When 2018 started, I’d had enough of Facebook… but I didn’t want to feel like I was abandoning friends. I had whittled my personal account down to about 90 friends who I care about. So I decided I’d go weekly to check in on everybody.

By mid-March, I’d really had it, especially with things I had been predicting for years finally being public. I had been telling everybody to stop taking quizzing, using FB login for everything, and adding friends you don’t know… you’re creating a spider web in the “graph” that is giving MY data to others without asking me. Everybody told me I was paranoid and overreacting… quizzes and making friends with strangers are fun things!

Right after that, friends started getting very realistic spam emails from me. My full name and appearing to be my real email address. They contacted me to tell me I was hacked. No. I was not hacked. The people grabbing info from the FB graph now have enough real info about you and me to send you emails that look like they’re REALLY from me.

On 23 March 2018, I deleted my Facebook account. I was told that I had 30 days to change my mind. OK, that makes sense. I recently posted about letting people undo deleting in case they change their mind, so I’m for that user experience.

But I wasn’t prepared for my account to still be live after I had confirmed deleting it.

What does a deleted account mean to you? What would you expect?

I would expect that my account is not live on the site. People can’t find it or see it. They can’t read posts, press like, or comment. They can’t tag me on my wall.

But no. My personal account is very much live on the site. Here’s me posting a comment from my business FB account (which I’m stuck using because ONE networking group I’m in insists on everything revolving around a FB group). I hope to delete that account as well someday.

This dark pattern is designed to bully and play into emotions.

By allowing people to still interact with my page (which SURELY someone would bring to my attention if I hadn’t noticed it myself), it plays into HEY you are missing out. You thought you wanted to delete but we left it on and look, people are active! They want you here!

I have notifications turned off so I don’t know if I would be getting emails saying so-and-so commented or tagged you. That would be an even worse bullying.

It’s disrespectful of the action the user has deliberately taken.

There is NO system out there who would refuse to delete something I told it to delete. Yes, it might put it in a trash can or some limbo phase in case I want to undelete it. But it wouldn’t keep it live and public or semi public.

If I told online banking to delete a payee, it wouldn’t list that payee among other active payees. If I deleted my Twitter account, I wouldn’t expect my account and all of my tweets up there for people to interact with. If I delete a credit card from an eCommerce site, I don’t expect that card to still be listed among credit cards in my account. This one’s simple but yet Facebook doesn’t care at all about what you need, want, or intended.

What if I had to delete my Facebook account for dire safety reasons? Yet it’s still up there for people to see and interact with, in my absence?

Again, let’s not imagine that there is a (qualified) UX team that would actually WANT this to be how deleting the account is done. This is a business decision having more value than what the user wants or needs. And that’s Facebook!

Nothing (literally) is better than Facebook.

I replaced Facebook with nothing and ya know what? It’s working just fine. I text and email friends to keep up with them. Now when I see them, we actually have something to talk about instead of them already knowing everything because I had posted it to Facebook.

Delete your Facebook. And replace it with nothing. It’ll all work out. I promise.