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Project Zero
16h12 Monday, 13th June 2011

Last night, around 6pm, I attempted or rather posed the question:

… is it possible to zero your activity on social media platforms, specifically twitter and facebook?

That is to say, to bring your tweets — in my case 21 thousand — to zero and remove all facebook activity. The quick short answer is:

Yes, if you are willing to delete (or deactivate on facebook) your account then create a new one. But, that comes at a price of recreating all your friends and the people you follow.

If that is too much social currency to lose, then the answer is no, it is not possible to delete all your tweets and all facebook activity.  You can attempt to. Twitter only allowed me to go as far back as March this year. Facebook went all the way back to April, 2010.

The greatest problem is actually, deleting each activity — there isn't a single "delete all" button on either platform, you have to go through all of them one by one.  If you are a geek you might want to write a script: either a background process that will query for the activity then send delete requests or you could try 'greasemonkey/userscripts' approach.

I was reluctant to use any of those. I went with the one by one deletion (assuming most people are not geeks this would be the only choice). It took me from 6pm till about 2-3am this morning on Facebook — twitter stopped showing my old tweets so there was nothing to do.  Both, twitter and facebook use a lot of JavaScript for their UX, which perfect if you are adding things to their platforms. If you are deleting it you have to go through 2—5 seconds process per activity:

select; confirm; scroll (rinse and repeat) — it is bound to give your wrist cramps.

The best way is to go through their mobile versions, which use less JavaScript based UX, where you can click a lot of statuses to delete and you just confirm — this means a lot of windows and/or tabs will be open. It is by far the best way.

With that said, I was asked a question why would I want to do that and my reasons are:

  1. Why not — I think these mediums, specifically twitter/facebook are transient. That is to say, what matters is what has been said in the very short time period. I am willing to bet anything older that 24 or 48 hours no longer matters;
  2. If you wanted to clean your profile without losing any of the networks you have created, this could be an important thing to do — say a change of jobs? or online 'persona' (in virtual space you can change who, how and what you want to be perceived as, easier than real life)
  3. Twitter and Facebook have been rather not so protective of ones online identity — twitter recently revealed the identity of one its users. Being able to delete your tweets, might, assist in removing 'incriminating' evidence.

Lastly, I don't trust these two companies to uphold any privacy laws — in the long run — and they have proved so by refusing to sign the Global Network Initiative with aims of:

… protecting and advancing freedom of expression and privacy in information and communications technologies. (Google and Yahoo have signed)

So, that alone, means — we should be able to zero our activity, whenever we want to — like how those 'dirty' law firms in John Grisham films shred 'documents' in the early hours of the morning.

 
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  1. 06
    Social Redundancy
    20H19, 07TH
    JUL 2011
  2. 03
    Social Investment
    07H08, 18TH
    APR 2011 03
 
  • 02

    OPINIONS

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  1. After reading these points, I can't help but think how we as people give away so much information without thought, "This is not bridge-building” we literally walking bare on the interwebs without any care what so ever.

  2. That is true — I think, we are in essence not doing anything wrong — we are sharing what we would share without or without social media; it's just that, instead of something being a joke between 2,3 or 4 people in pub, it is open to the rest of the world, including those that shouldn't know/hear the joke.

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