OK, forget for a few minutes the debate about who owns your email addresses, birthdays, and name on social networking sites.
Forget for a few minutes about whether or not I was a jerk, stupid, idiotic, or worse for breaking the terms of service of one of your favorite companies.
Forget for a few minutes about whether it’s right or not that I got my account turned back on.
But after reading thousands of blog posts, comments, Twitter messages, and talking with tons of people one thing is still really freaking me out:
I was erased.
Erased so quickly and completely that my friends had no idea what happened.
And not only was I erased, but anyone who wrote on my wall’s data was erased too.
My photos were erased.
My videos were erased.
AND all of YOUR data associated with those were erased.
Rodney Rumford has the picture of erasure.
Now, keep in mind, this isn’t a video game. It isn’t a review site. Or a restaurant site.
It’s something that claims to be a “utility.”
I’ve gotten dozens of messages from people who claim to have been erased by Facebook who DID NOT run a script (or so they say). They were just erased for some perceived slight and because they aren’t a famous blogger they haven’t gotten their accounts turned back on.
So, this is a company you want to trust your private details to? A company that can not just block access to your account, but can erase every last detail about you.
And you’re wondering what I’m doing trying to get your email address and birthday out of this system?
Personally, can you put my email, phone, birthday into some other system so that you know how to get ahold of me after I get erased the next time? Thanks! It’s always on my blog.
And people wonder why I love the open public Web…
OK, now we can get back to calling me an idiot, or arguing whether or not you, by adding me to your friends or follower lists, gave me permission to add your email address to other systems I use, and whether or not I should have been allowed back into Facebook. All that doesn’t bother me as much as just realizing that a company can totally wipe you off the face of their walled garden without any due process or any real recourse.
Not that I’ve learned my lesson. Right now I’m typing this from an Apple store computer in San Francisco and I’ve put 89 videos up on Qik (which just improved its quality) and who knows whether or not my videos will get erased in the future from that service?
Call me a sucker for letting other companies control my data. But, probably, so are you. Welcome to the world where you don’t really own your data.
Hope you never get erased.