(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – Facebook users can now delete their accounts completely after the company added instructions Tuesday to the help page on its website.
The social network’s actions come days after The New York Times reported that many users were having trouble completely deleting their accounts.
Previously, users could only deactivate a Facebook account, which would remove all public data from the website but still kept an archive of personal information on the server.
It is now possible for students to request that their account be deleted through a contact form on the website’s help page.
However, many users are still reporting that the new method of account deletion is incomplete.
“Users who have requested to be deleted via the recently introduced form are only partly deleted, even though the deletion is confirmed by Facebook staff.”
Facebook user Magnus Wallin stated in a posting Friday on his Facebook group, “How to permanently delete your Facebook account.” Wallin’s group had more than 10,000 members as of Sunday.
Facebook representatives did not return calls for comment by press time.
According to Facebook’s help page, deactivating an account rather than completely deleting it is a convenience measure.
“If you reactivate your account, your profile will be restored in its entirety,” the help page stated.
Facebook was previously hesitant to comply with deletion requests, with one user succeeding only after threatening legal action, according to The New York Times.
American University School of Communication professor Kathryn C. Montgomery said she has always been concerned about Facebook’s privacy practices.
“[Social networking websites are] basically turning themselves into data-mining companies,” Montgomery said. “They say they’re not selling [your personal information] to third parties. However, they are making your profile available without giving your name to third parties. They don’t have to know your specific name to reach you and target you.”