What to do when Facebook leaks your data: Deactivate or delete?

KL_What to do if Facebook leaked your data
With a massive number of users spanning across the globe, Facebook has become one of the most populated and, in effect, most dangerous places on the Internet. In fact, it was reported that the information of at least 6 million Facebook users were leaked due to a coding error that enabled the unauthorized downloading of other users’ information using Facebook’s own Download Your Information (DYI) tool. Facebook blocked the tool as soon as the leakage was discovered, but with the power and accessibility of the Internet, even a couple of minutes is already too late.

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Deactivate or Delete?

Deactivation essentially puts your account on hold. Your Timeline will not be publicly visible even to your friends, but since your account doesn’t disappear and you can gain access to it again simply by logging in, the data you provided will still remain stored within Facebook.

Deletion takes back all the information you stored from Facebook’s computer system. Once you delete your account, you no longer have access to your information, but Facebook does give you the option to download a copy of your entire timeline—including posts, photos, and messages—the activity log, an expanded archive and the rest of the information you stored within the site. 

After the 90-day period of totally removing your data from Facebook’s system, your personal information stops being under the threat of leakage.

How to Avoid the Need to Delete

Should you be uncomfortable with possibly having to pull the plug on your account, you can try the following safety measures:

  • Using a strong, complicated, and unique password
  • Paying attention to your privacy settings
  • Using a dedicated, trusted e-mail address to receive notifications from social networks
  • Having a separate cell phone number for important information
  • Encrypting your data on Facebook

The best and most effective measure is to avoid sharing sensitive information as much as possible on cloud-based systems like Facebook. Remember, these sites may be useful and efficient, but they are certainly not fail-safe.

Thanks to the folks from Kaspersky Lab for the info!