I'm not going to delete any of my Facebook pages, groups, or personal accounts.

It didn't take me long to reach this decision, because I had long ago decided to be careful about how much  personal information I post. And, I depend on the service as a way to connect with friends and family, some of whom live overseas.

Social media is a fuel for all of my business activity. Facebook is the most important social media platform by far, and that won't change overnight.

And yet, I feel your pain. I know the company has made many compromises with data, and we're still waiting for any real changes. Before you delete your account, you might want to ask yourself a few important questions. I didn't make it through this list, and ended up deciding the negative impact of deleting my accounts would be far too great. For now.

1. How will this impact your business relationships?

Tech trends come and go. We're not exactly using feature phones anymore, and from what I understand about tablets, they are losing favor with business users. But Facebook is still a major part of any digital marketing strategy. The company has lost a tremendous amount of market share, but the comments are still flying and the posts keep posting. Companies like Tesla decided to delete an official Facebook page, but that wasn't a primary means of communication anyway. The truth is, many of your customers are likely on Facebook. Deleting a business page or a personal account might put you at a serious disadvantage.

2. How much data have you actually shared?

I'm firmly in the camp that Facebook made quite a few mistakes. User privacy is a major issue, and the way the company has sold personal preferences and interests based on your feed to the highest bidder for advertising purposes is quite appalling. At the same time, didn't we already know they were selling the data? And, didn't we know the massive treasure trove for billions of users could be at risk? Knowing all this, it's better to ask yourself how much personal data you have shared. It's not an excuse, but if you have mostly shared general information about your business, you are likely in a low-risk category, at least compared to storing credit card info on Amazon or your social security number at a tax site. Maybe leaking that two-for-one coupon for your pizza place is a good thing. Most of the issue is related to your moral stance on the privacy. If you simply can't support a company that is not careful with user data, go ahead and delete. For me, I've accepted the fact that, in the digital age, data leaks can and will happen. And, I know my data on Facebook is mostly harmless, not that specific, and meant for social media.

3. Do you trust Mark Zuckerberg?

You know, a CEO at a Big Tech company doesn't have as much control as you might think. An entrepreneur like Zuckerberg is not standing in a data center pulling levers and adjusting settings for two billion users. Yet, this particular CEO is quite unusual. He is the original co-founder. He has more control over the overarching strategy of Facebook than perhaps any other tech leader. If Zuckerberg makes radical changes related to user privacy, and I happen to think he will, we will all benefit eventually. But if you don't trust him, and you suspect he's mainly interested in profiting from this constant misuse of data, you have a leg to stand on--it is reasonable to delete your account.

4. Do you trust the tech industry in general?

Apart from Zuckerberg himself, there's a question to ask about how you view the tech industry as a whole. I see a shift coming. The data leaks, the fake news, the advertising models--my sense is that they are about to change for the better. This is a wake-up call. I'm hopeful about the tech industry moving to better authentication and encryption, better agreements about user privacy, being more upfront about policies, and fewer data leaks. The alternative is to mistrust every major tech company, and to delete every account, from Twitter to Snapchat to Instagram. You might as well disconnect from the Internet entirely.

5. Will you regret the decision eventually?

Mostly, I'm sticking with Facebook because it's a big part of my daily routine; I'm an avid daily user. My colleagues, friends, family, bosses, and business partners are all still using the social network, and deleting my account is not really an option for me. That could change, once I see the user numbers start to drop, and the impact on society decreases, and another platform that's more secure rise to take the place of this dominant player. But that's not happening yet. For now, deleting my account doesn't make sense because everyone I know and work with is still using the network.

Published on: Mar 29, 2018