Facebook is forcing users to wait twice as long to delete their accounts following a recent update.
If a Facebook user attempts to delete their account, the social media platform makes them wait for a “grace period,” to expire, which previously lasted two weeks. In those two weeks, the account would be inactive but logging into the website would reactive the account, giving users every chance to regain access to their account. Now, the company has doubled this grace period in which they continue to store a users’ account data from two weeks to four.
Business Insider reports that shortly after Facebook’s latest user data breach in which the personal details of approximately 50 million users was left vulnerable, the social giant has increased the wait time for users to delete their data from the social media platform. Previously it took 14 days for Facebook to delete an account, that has now been increased to 30 days.
Facebook told tech news site the Verge: “We recently increased the grace period when you choose to delete your Facebook account from 14 days to 30 days … We’ve seen people try to log in to accounts they’ve opted to delete after the 14-day period. The increase gives people more time to make a fully informed choice.”
While Facebook claims that this sudden change is an effort to allow regretful users to regain access to their accounts, it also has the added benefit for Facebook of increasing the number of users that remain on the platform.
During a recent Advertising Week panel Facebook’s vice president of global marketing solutions, Carolyn Everson, explained that Facebook’s latest user data breach which affected the accounts of 50 million people was a “sophisticated attack.” Everson stated: “This was an attack, an attack that would require people to understand three different bugs.”
Everson further said that the attackers were like an “odorless, weightless intruder that walked in” that could only be detected by Facebook “once they made a certain move.” The security bug reportedly related to a vulnerability in Facebook’s “view as” feature which allowed users to see what their own Facebook profile would look like to someone else. This bug allowed hackers to steal the security tokens of other users accounts and use these to then access that user’s account. These security tokens are like digital keys which keep users logged into Facebook so they don’t have to re-login every time they visit the website.