Facebook for Life - Whether you Like it or Not

The hits just keep coming for Facebook. After the much-maligned advertising bungle called Beacon - where users' profiles and buying habits were tracked in order to pitch ads to their friends - a new concern is hitting the social networking site. This time, users are finding it extrememly difficult, if not impossible to completely delete their info from the Facebook servers. Facebook holds onto personal data from accounts even after the user deletes their profile, for "a reasonable amount of time." The official stance from Facebook is that users who want to reactivate their accounts can do so without losing any of their profile information. There are ways to actually rid the site of profile information completely, although it seems about as convenient as a Sunday night picukp from the airport. The New York Times published a nice article about the difficulties of deleting a Facebook account, and blogger Steven Mansour has some good insight into the headache.

A couple of gems from the NY Times article:

Facebook's Web site does not inform departing users that they must delete information from their account in order to close it fully - meaning that they may unwittingly leave anything from e-mail addresses to credit card numbers sitting on Facebook servers.

"It's like the Hotel California," said Nipon Das, 34, a director at a biotechnology consulting firm in Manhattan, who tried unsuccessfully to delete his account this fall. "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave."