MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Facebook has taken a lot of heat over its privacy practices after Cambridge Analytica used the data of 50 million Facebook users collected without their permission.

It spawned the #DeleteFacebook hashtag with celebrities like Will Ferrell and Cher getting rid of their accounts.

But, if someone deletes Facebook, what happens to their digital privacy? Good Question.

“People who think deleting Facebook means you’re going back to the pre-digital age of privacy will be disappointed,” says Bill McGeveran, a privacy expert at the University of Minnesota Law School.

People can deactivate or delete their Facebook account. Deactivation is more like “taking a break” from Facebook, whereas deletion means your information is scrubbed from Facebook servers. Facebook says that deletion process can take up to 90 days.

“All of the data should go off Facebook servers and they won’t have it anymore,” says McGeveran. “But, the third-party apps that you connect with, they might still have it.”

Facebook began to limit how much data third-party apps could have access to in 2015. But, when a user agrees to the terms and conditions of the app, that app does have access to varying degrees of a user’s information. According to McGeveran, there is no legal obligation for those third-party apps to delete information.

Facebook is just one part of digital privacy. McGeveran says using google, geolocation, messaging or any number of other Internet applications will mean a person’s information is scattered all over the place.

McGeveran recommends people do a digital privacy check-up on Facebook to better control who has access to their information.   He says he’s not quitting Facebook because he finds it’s too valuable, but he does not use third-party apps with it and is careful about what he posts.

To download a report of a user’s Facebook data, go to Facebook settings, then click on download a copy of your Facebook data.


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