Friends Reunited are lying about ‘deleting’ your account
Back before Facebook, Friends Reunited was a nascent social networking/school reunion site that was quite popular in the UK. It recently relaunched, and emailed all its old users to let them know.
I was one of them, and this reminded me that I should go back and delete my account, since I have no intention of using the service.
Once I had logged myself in (astonishingly, I still remembered my password), I found that the option to remove my account was actually pretty easy to find, and was quite clear that it would be a permanent deletion:
“This will permanently delete your account,” it states (the red emphasis is mine). That’s pretty unequivocal, and not exactly open to interpretation.
It is also completely untrue.
After using this option I was returned to the homepage, with a confirmation that my account had been deleted:
Call me untrusting, but I thought I’d check to see if the account was actually deleted or not. So I tried that big blue ‘Sign me in now’ button once again.
Well, well, well. So I can restore my account? The one you said would be permanently deleted? How very interesting. And utterly unsurprising.
Removing your profile from Friends Reunited.
You may remove your profile from the website at any time by clicking the “Account” link located towards the top right of the website, and clicking “Remove my account from Friends Reunited”. Any public content you have added to the website will remain; however, your profile page will not be accessible, and other members will not be able to contact you. Any content that you chose to share publicly, understandably, may be copied or stored by other members even after your profile has been removed. When your profile has been removed, we will archive and store your information for a reasonable time period for legal and administrative reasons and for the purposes of re-activating your account with us, if you wish to do so.
Even if I thought the relaunched site was worth using, I’m not going to use a service that lies to me. Facebook learned their lesson on this and are quite clear that the option they give you is to Deactivate your account, rather than deleting it. Here’s a quick tip for website operators: when Facebook are being more honest about user’s data than you are, you’re doing it wrong.