Quitting Facebook—what's behind the new trend to leave social networks?

Sep 16, 2013
Credit: Mary Ann Liebert Inc. publishers

If you are ready to commit "virtual identity suicide," delete your Facebook account, and say good-bye to social networking sites, you are not alone. A social networking counter movement is emerging, and Facebook quitters, who remove their accounts, differ from Facebook users in several key ways, as described in an article in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

Stefan Stieger, PhD and coauthors, University of Vienna, Austria, compared more than 300 Facebook quitters to about an equal number of Facebook users. They recorded their responses to assessment measures focused on their level of concern over privacy, their tendency toward Internet addiction, and personality traits such as extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism.

The authors report several significant differences that distinguish those who have decided to delete their Facebook accounts. The results are presented in the article, "Who Commits Virtual Identity Suicide? Differences in Privacy Concerns, Internet Addiction, and Personality Between Facebook Users and Quitters." This article is part of a special issue of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking entitled "Social Media as a Research Environment," led by Guest Editors Michael Walton Macy, PhD and Scott Golder, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

"Given high profile stories such as WikiLeaks and the recent NSA surveillance reports, individual citizens are becoming increasingly more wary of cyber-related privacy concerns," says Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCIA, Editor-in-Chief of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, from the Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, CA. "With photo tags, profiling, and internet dependency issues, research such as Professor Stieger's is very timely."

Explore further: Who uses social networking sites to monitor their romantic partners?

More information: The article is available free on the Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking website.

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User comments : 15

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Lurker2358
2.5 / 5 (11) Sep 16, 2013
I wasn't aware you could cancel an account on Facebook.

How is that accomplished? I made the mistake of making a Facebook account years ago and have never used it, and have regretted it ever since.
JohnGee
3 / 5 (8) Sep 16, 2013
You can't delete an account, but you can disable it. I stopped using facebook in about 2009 and it asks you at least 3 times if you are sure and basically makes it a pain in the ass.

For all intents and purposes it is gone in the sense that other people can't access it. Facebook still owns the data though under the pretense of restoring your account when you come to your senses.
kochevnik
3 / 5 (6) Sep 16, 2013
Deleting Zuckerberg will restore your original privacy settings to their NSA defaults
Miles_OToole
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 17, 2013
I disabled my account before all of the NSA snooping became publicized. I did it when they "hijacked" my email, changing my displayed email address to something like facebookemail.com. I could have easily changed it back, but for me, that was just one "upgrade" too far.
Sinister1811
3.4 / 5 (5) Sep 17, 2013
I disabled my account a couple of times. I just got bored of it. Facebook is pretty overrated.
88HUX88
4 / 5 (4) Sep 17, 2013
I use someone else's.
Sinister1811
2.4 / 5 (5) Sep 17, 2013
I use someone else's.


Haha! That's always fun. Just don't get caught.
DarkHorse66
5 / 5 (3) Sep 18, 2013
My local rag ran the article today too, but has some details some of you might wish to look further into. Here is this section, verbatim:
"So many people are turning off social network sites that new internet applications such as The Suicide Machine and Seppukoo have sprung up to help them. They automatically delete private content, friends and pictures and make accounts inaccessible with password changes."
It might just be worth it, especially if you want to be sure that undesired content is removed.
Cheers, DH66
DarkHorse66
5 / 5 (3) Sep 18, 2013
Just a little follow-up to my last post. I've just checked out the two options provided by the article. It looks like facebook managed to cause the closure of those two sites several years ago! So much for up-to-dateness... However, all is not lost. If you google: "virtual suicide", there do appear to be a couple of currently operational sites. Under keywords "web 2.0 suicide machine alternative" it gets even more interesting. One example: http://www.moreof...machine/
By the looks of it, there might even be an open source version of web2.0 suicide machine floating around. Maybe one of you might be interested in tracking it down.
Best Regards, DH66
Captain Stumpy
1.9 / 5 (9) Sep 21, 2013
the only reason I use fb at all is to keep in touch with family spread all over the US and world... the grandkids and younger nieces/nephews use it a lot, and we interact with it. I intentionally don't allow personal pic's... for privacy.
in fact, other than sharing science stuff, funny meme's and talking to far flung family, and the occasional news tidbit, I don't use it.
although I have used it more lately, it only because I cant sleep most nights.
nomoreimfull
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 22, 2013
the trend to use real information in social networking always seemed like a fad. To use one and have the information used against you in a job interview is disgusting. In this world of snooping, it is easier to generate a bullshit email address, open an account with some BS name and then never use that email again... at least, never give it out on a resume.

anual FB suicide would not be a bad idea either. good way to purge lame friends. make it routine like changing your password.
Sinister1811
3.4 / 5 (5) Sep 22, 2013
The fact that they use Facebook at all for job interviews is a load of crap. That's why it's a good idea to change the privacy settings to "friends only" or "private".
ralph638s
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 22, 2013
If it wasn't for the online scrabble game, I would have deleted (or disabled) my FB account several years ago...
kotyto
3 / 5 (2) Sep 22, 2013
Just say no, to using real ID. The bastards are taking advantage of it.
malapropism
5 / 5 (1) Sep 22, 2013
Don't actually quit (or not create a profile). IMHO it's better to create a profile in your own name, put in the absolute bare minimum data, and then never use the profile again; just so nobody else can use your name. (And send to the spam bin the annoying automatic emails encouraging you to visit.)