I try to avoid big internet companies (big tech) and try to find decentralized and/or open source alternatives.

I use a password manager with unique usernames and generated, complex passwords.

A lot of accounts have accumulated in the last 10+ years and I wonder why do I have to delete an account instead of simply no longer using it?

As is known, the corporations never really delete any data, but set a flag "deleted". One can also assume that they will continue to sell and analyze the collected data.

In the case of leaks/hacks my account could not be affected. Are there any other reasons related to privacy? I am mainly talking about accounts without public postings.

The companies intentionally make deleting accounts very time-consuming and difficult. Is it worth the effort? Why?

  • "As is known, the corporations never really delete any data, but set a flag "deleted"." that's a pretty broad statement and not universally true. Your entire question seems to be based on this erroneous assumption.
    – schroeder
    Apr 5, 2020 at 8:57
  • I know many corporations who delete user data upon request. And as Esa notes below, privacy regulations worldwide are demanding it. There have been instances of some corporations not deleting data, but you cannot universalise those instances.
    – schroeder
    Apr 5, 2020 at 9:40

1 Answer 1


There must be national differences. E.g. in the EU, the GDPR helps a lot with the problems you described: companies aren't allowed to hold your PII, especially if you request for removal.

But if we assume that at least some of the companies are removing data instead of flagging it as removed, or that not all data on the post level is held, deleting the data and the account will reduce the surface you leave to be leaked. That's why it's not completely worthless effort.

However, it's a lot easier to affect the future by reducing the data you produce. For the past data, depending on the contents, you could try to reduce the ability to link this data to you.

  • GDPR is inspiring other jurisdictions. We'll see versions of it pretty wide-spread soon.
    – schroeder
    Apr 5, 2020 at 9:08
  • That's indeed a good direction. Apr 5, 2020 at 9:11

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