This decision to cut the FB chain has been in the works for quite some time for me. Not an act of passion in a moment of insanity. No, no. I think it was two years ago that I got rid of all the pictures and posts that were on my account, then “unfriended” those who were friends (that was the most painful part!) and placed an anonymous profile picture (my now departed cat). In those two years, I may have visited the site 5 times. So in that sense, unneeded. And the time I was saving! It was wonderful.
Another element in actually going through the process of “deleting” was a Scam Ransomware email I received. Because the email was sent from my work email address (as though I was the one sending the email to myself!), I was curious to see what it was. It was a fake Ransomware demanding $736 in bitcoin. Darkness hates exposure, so I decided to expose this scam in the event some of you have received the same. You’ll find a copy of the email text I received towards the end of this article.
The third element in the chain that led to deleting FB was an email from our friends at Malwarebytes. Always alert to scams, the Malwarebytes newsletter had two helpful articles. One was on the “Sextortion Bitcoin” scam. The other talked about “Deleting yourself from social media“
Basically, it has been claimed that Facebook has been negligent in protecting the privacy of those who have accounts. The sextortion scam claims to have either your email address or passwords or both, based on the multiple database breaches that have taken place. So it made sense to have one less loose canon out there causing trouble. Perhaps I can’t police Cambridge Analytica or Sony Pictures, or Hyatt Hotels, or Yahoo, or Marriott International, or Equifax, but I can do something about Facebook on a personal level. [If you have an account at one of these other data holders, by all means, change your password!]
I was amazed at how Facebook worked diligently to convince the account holder not to delete the account. They provide links to change your Privacy Settings. Or how to Deactivate your account. Hidden in that deactivate link is information on how to delete. All along the way, FB states the negative consequences of such an act. But it has not stopped many people from taking action. How many?
Just How Many?
In October 2018, Market Watch reported, “Some 44% of users between the ages of 18 and 29 have deleted the Facebook app from their phone in the last year, and 74% of Facebook users of all ages have either taken a break from the social network, changed their privacy settings, or deleted it altogether, according to a recent survey by Pew Research Center.”
Pew asked 4594 people in June 2018 just after the Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed that millions of Facebook users had their personal information compromised. Deleting your account won’t change the fact that someone has your data. But it at least closes that door and sends a message about responsibility regarding data records.
Forbes reported the same statistical information, adding that “26% of respondents deleted the Facebook from their cellphone, while just over half of Facebook users ages 18 and older (54%) said they have adjusted their privacy settings.”
Evidently, I’m not alone in taking this action. In fact, I’m a little slow in responding. We each have our own sense of timing. For me, today was the day when I said, “Enough is enough!” and cut the Facebook cord. This article raises the question so that you can give it thought and provides the links to take action if you are so inclined.
Ready to take action?
- Before deleting your Facebook account, you should log in and download a copy of your photos and posts if you want to save them. After your account has been deleted, you won’t be able to retrieve anything you’ve added.
- To permanently delete your account, you’ll need to log in to the account (you’ll need your password to actually delete):
- Click at the top right of any Facebook page. There is a very small drop-down arrow.
- Click Settings.
- Click Your Facebook Information in the left column.
- Click Delete Your Account and Information, then click Delete My Account.
- Enter your password, click Continue and then click Delete Account.
Sextortion Ransomware Email
As you may have noticed, I sent you an email from your account. This means that I have full access to your account.
I’ve been watching you for a few months now. The fact is that you were infected with malware through an adult site that you visited.
If you are not familiar with this, I will explain. Trojan Virus gives me full access and control over a computer or other device.
This means that I can see everything on your screen, turn on the camera and microphone, but you do not know about it.
I also have access to all your contacts and all your correspondence.
I made a video… With one click of the mouse, I can send this video to all your emails and contacts on social networks.
I can also post access to all your e-mail correspondence and messengers that you use.
If you want to prevent this, transfer the amount of $736 to my bitcoin address (if you do not know how to do this, write to Google: “Buy Bitcoin”).
My bitcoin address (BTC Wallet) is: 1NL9MTdnTxsVx9nHeY5ow5U9Mxsh8v
After receiving the payment, I will delete the video and you will never hear me again.
I give you 48 hours to pay. I have a notice reading this letter, and the timer will work when you see this letter.
Filing a complaint somewhere does not make sense because this email cannot be tracked like my bitcoin address.
I do not make any mistakes.
If I find that you have shared this message with someone else, the video will be immediately distributed.
Suggestions on Taking Action (good advice from Malwarebytes)
Check the privacy settings on the social media where you have an account.
Here are links to privacy settings for the four most popular social media apps. Copy the links below and paste into your browser to take action.
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/help/325807937506242
Twitter – https://help.twitter.com/en/safety-and-security/twitter-privacy-settings
Instagram – https://help.instagram.com/196883487377501
Snapchat – https://support.snapchat.com/en-US/a/privacy-settings2
You can increase your privacy by the settings you choose. You can also change your password at least at these four sites. Or you can delete your account (if you have one!).
Get your data
if you decide one or more of the top four is just not worth the privacy loss here are links to download your data, followed by links to deactivate or delete the account. Copy the links below and paste into your browser to take action.
Facebook download https://www.facebook.com/help/1701730696756992?helpref=hc_global_nav
Facebook delete https://www.facebook.com/help/224562897555674
Twitter download https://help.twitter.com/en/managing-your-account/how-to-download-your-twitter-archive
Twitter deactivate https://help.twitter.com/en/managing-your-account/how-to-deactivate-twitter-account
Twitter delete https://www.wikihow.com/Delete-a-Twitter-Account
Instagram download https://help.instagram.com/181231772500920
Instagram delete https://help.instagram.com/370452623149242
Snapchat download https://support.snapchat.com/en-US/article/download-my-data
Snapchat delete https://support.snapchat.com/en-US/a/delete-my-account1
If social media is causing anxiety, stress, or depression; if you’re tired of your data being mined and shared with third parties; if it’s starting to feel more like work to maintain instead of pleasure, then it may be time to shore up defenses and take a break, or even step away for good.Choice closing words from Jean Taggart’s Malwarebytes article.