This morning, we got a tip that despite all the hubbub about Jason Calacanis deleting his Facebook profile, it was still active. Sure enough, it was. So what gives?
We emailed Calacanis to find out what the deal was — was he just bluffing about deleting his account? It’s hard to believe that was the case considering just how vocal he’s been against Facebook, and he even has video proof of him deleting the account. But as the video shows, there’s actually a 14-day wait period before you can actually delete your account. In those 14-days, your profile is simply “deactivated.” But as of this morning (way more than 14 days after that video was shot), Calacanis’ account wasn’t deleted, nor was it even inactive, it was there in full glory (complete with a cute “Facebook Ghost” picture).
It turns out that a few third party sites may have been keeping his profile alive without him realizing it. For example, his YouTube favorites were getting imported into his stream automatically, and he had to sever that connection to make sure his account remained inactive over the 14 days so Facebook could delete it. We’ve come out in support of Facebook during some of this press backlash, but this is pretty ridiculous if true.
Flat out: it should not be this hard and complicated to delete your account if you want to. If you hit the “delete” button (after making sure you really want to do that, of course), it should automatically sever any ties third-party sites have into your profile and delete the account.
Update: Calacanis writes to us to clarify one bit: “the third party sites didn’t turn it back on… i needed to login to a 3rd party site that i used FB connect on (i think last week)… might have been an iphone app, i can’t remember. so then my account goes back on and all the connected services start flooding it.” He then continues, “but who knows… the stuff is so confusing!“
We’ve reached out to Facebook for comment on this and will update when we hear back. Meanwhile, below find an email Calacanis sent to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg (his wink & smile partner), and TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington (who emailed him about why his account was still active). He’s given us permission to print this email in full. Obviously, he’s pissed off. And Facebook just a few minutes ago did actually remove his account.
Subject: Re: did you ever actually delete your fb page?
Seems my personal Facebook got turned back on by a 3rd party service
that logged into it… which shows the lock in Facebook has. you
signup for a 3rd party service with Facebook connect, then delete your
facebook page and then can’t get into that service! Then when it goes
back on, Youtube starts posting your youtube favorites again… so i
have to go to youtube and turn that feature off.
There is no way to delete your page from the Facebook global
navigation–you have to do a google search to find Facebook’s hidden
delete page! insane.
Then if you want to delete your page it takes a half-dozen steps AND
they still don’t delete it… they leave it on for ANOTHER TWO weeks
in case you change your mind.
Zuck/Sheryl: you should have one click delete from the Account
settings page. This is the kind of little details that makes Facebook
look heavy handed.
Zuck2/Sheryl2: Would it kill you to put an “export all” feature on
Facebook? Just doing that would make Facebook look so magnanemous and
it would get the Government to stop looking at you guys as their big
target. You could then say “you can delete everything with one click
and you can export everything with one click.”
The lock in on Facebook is absurd….
If you guys made these two simple changes the folks upset at Facebook
could say “wow… facebook is changing their ways and listening to
Would it kill you guys to have an export feature like every other
major service on the planet?!?! :-)
And here’s the follow-up email he sent to us:
You have my permission to print entire email….
my only goal is to see Facebook treat users better. to use your metaphor, they are pissing in our flowerbed. the flowerbed being internet users.
i don’t have anything personal against mark… in fact, after the D conference i feel sympathy for him. he obviously doesn’t feel good about the reaction to his service.
paradoxically, they are the most talented product team in the internet space and yet they don’t add export features or data portability or open standards for things like Like. they could build them in a day or two–certainly a week or two–and the world would love them EVEN MORE.
Update: And now Facebook is effectively saying Calacanis is lying.