Desperate-to-leave LinkedIn users rename accounts "delete delete delete"

Clay Shirky sez, "While googling around for instructions on deleting my Facebook profile, I discovered a form of digital graffiti which is one part last-ditch strategy to three parts _cri de coeur_: accounts renamed by frustrated LinkedIn users desperate to get off the service. I have no idea how common this is, but in just two searches, I came across a Mr. Delete This Account from the San Francisco area, who turns out to have company, as there are three other Mr. Delete This Account's on the service (San Diego; Enid, OK; and Liege, Belgium). There are also two users named Delete My Profile, four named Delete This Profile, and no fewer than ten named Unsubscribe Unsubscribe (the Humbert Humbert of the 21c.) There is also some unintentional hilarity on individual profile pages -- one of the Unsubscribe Unsubscribes is a Relationship Manager, while a user with the first name of 'delete delete delete' and the last name of 'delete delete delete' is a Hospitality Professional in Australia. LinkedIn is very solicitous about asking "Would you like to add delete delete delete delete delete delete to your network?" Um, no."

This was how I got rid of my LinkedIn account in the end, and why I never signed back up again.

(Thanks, Clay!)


  1. I’m a longtime user and have utilized it successfully for career networking.

    It’s gotten me recommendations, interviews and jobs.

    It’s no Facebook, and that’s a good thing.


    I’ve seen this phenomenon several times too, but I think you misunderstand what has happened. People set up one LinkedIn account. Forget it, or forget their password or change jobs or for some such reason open another LinkedIn account (novice move).

    LinkedIn does not allow you to merge multiple accounts. So the user end up with two (or more) LinkedIn profiles. As time goes on, half the people they know send them invites to one account and half send them invites to the other. They constantly have to tell people “ignore the old account, use this one.” So they change their name to “delete” or “ignore” so people don’t send invites to the wrong profile.

    It’s actually very easy to delete an account on LinkedIn:

    1. Log into the account you wish to close.
    2. Click on ‘Account & Settings’ found at top of home page.
    3. Click on ‘Close Your Account’ under Personal Information.

    But some people are not very tech savvy. That’s how they end up with two accounts to begin with.

  3. “This was how I got rid of my LinkedIn account in the end, and why I never signed back up again.”

    Cory, were you intending to include a hyperlink around “This” to a blog post or article detailing how (and why) you quit LinkedIn?

    Or are you saying that you got rid of your LinkedIn account by changing your name to “delete [etc]”, and you never signed back up because it was so difficult to quit the first time?

  4. @4, no I got rid of it by changing the name to ANONYMOUS ANONYMOUS or similar and then, eventually, they deleted it.

    @3, I don’t know how LinkedIn works today, but in 2004, when I resigned, there was no way to delete your account, except for writing to LinkedIn management asking to be taken out and explaining why. They didn’t take me out promptly, and eventually I had to take this extraordinary step to get out.

  5. Of course, LinkedIn still have your data, and if their database is versioned, they can roll it back to see your real name.

    Perhaps someone should write a unilateral unsubscribe bot which, for a randomised period of time, pollutes the data with random changes of details, fuzzing the point where it ceased to be real, before blanking it. To avoid automatic detection of where the bogus data begins, it would grab details by googling for them, and operate randomly.

  6. I was stupid enough to set up a LinkedIn account. It was many years ago so I’m a bit hazy on the details, but I know I wanted to delete it when it started sending me loads of semi-spam emails.
    The ‘delete this account’ functionality of the site proved to be unusable (here’s where things get a bit hazy). What happened when you clicked the ‘delete’ link was along the lines of:
    a) You got taken to a blank page.
    b) You got taken to a ‘Do you really want to do this?’ page – with one option, “No”.
    c) 404.
    d) Nothing.

    In the end I got so fed up with it that I set up one of those free web-mail accounts, pointed my LinkdIn account at it, then deleted the web-mail account – purely out of spite!!!
    Oh yes, I also used my existing ‘social network’ to advise people to avoid LinkdIn like the clap.

  7. I believe the more apropos literary reference would have been Major Major Major Major. After all, he was called Caleb until the joke his father played was revealed. Then he was promoted by an IBM to a rank that he didn’t really want (at which point he was in the awkward position of outranking his Sergeant in boot camp) and could never leave (thanks to the machinations of the nefarious ex-PFC Wintergreen).

  8. haha @#2 “I’m a longtime user and have utilized it successfully for career networking.”

    let me guess, it has gotten you jobs in… marketing?!

    Did you utilize linkedIn to reach out to key stakeholders in your demand-gen strategy group-think?

  9. This is the method i used to get my Myspace account deleted, as they are terrible at deleting accounts too.

  10. You know, I am a little freaked out about this upcoming “opt out” thing where Facebook is going to make all our messages and walls public and searchable on the Internet. What if we are not around the day it goes live and we don’t get to opt out before all our information is crawled and cached?

    Also, what does a private person like myself do in cases where I do not know the privacy settings of others? Imagine that I have a friend who fails to set their newly-defaulted-to-public profile back to private. If I post a message to this person’s wall, or make a comment on their photo or link, does that fall under my privacy settings or theirs?

    I think the problem is the interconnected ecology of FB. I know it is going to turn alot of us off if we feel that anyone can have access to our private conversations. I am not on FB to “Network” or to sell crap, I am just there to keep in touch with people I actually know in real life. And if I have to be suspicious that my friends have not set their privacy settings appropriately for *my* perceived privacy comfort level, I am less likely to comment on their updates or to write something on their walls. That is going to be a problem. We might end up having all our conversations in the “Inbox”, if we stay on FB at all. (It is especially difficult because most of us are graduate students and academics who need to retain some privacy and distance from our students and employers.)

    Anyway, I wonder if there is any way to know how the privacy settings are going to work on an interconnected level.

    How can I leave if all my stuff is totally public and all the stuff on other people’s walls is published.

    Does this make sense? I thought this might be a forum to ask these questions within.

    Why can’t facebook just stop screwing with people’s privacy. We all set our privacy the way we like it. Why should we be forced to reassert ourselves by opting out of something?

  11. OMG, I am so behind the curve, here the technorati are already leaving linkedin and facebook, and I have yet to even sign up. Oh woes is meh…

  12. Secret Life Of Plants spake thusly:
    It is especially difficult because most of us are graduate students and academics who need to retain some privacy and distance from our students and employers.

    Yes, the Ivory Tower crowd needs their privacy, but not the Average Joe, right?

  13. owning a something which is similar in appearance or function to a zune, is like owning a zune

  14. Yeah, at DeviantArt they don’t “allow” you to delete your account either.

    You can’t change you username. But well, you can delete all your content and leave a nice good-bye message as tagline for everyone to see right beneath your username. Theoretically you could use this space for everything you wanted… everything.


  15. Why would anyone think social networking sites are more controllable than meatspace?

    Glad to say I’m batting 1.000 at avoiding these things. GoodReads is the only useful SN site I’ve used.

  16. I’m there with Yrarbil – I know I ought to be socially networking on all these things, but if you weren’t in at the beginning it’s impossible to get your head around what you should be doing and on what site. Let alone whether you use your real name, or an alias or whatever. I was a member of FB for 5 mins and then deleted myself in a cold sweat of panic. Somehow Plaxo (and Friends Reunited) have my details and email me daily requesting I sign up to people I’ve never heard of. LinkedIn – I’m a member but it simply doesn’t work for me – and I don’t know what I should be doing. Twitter?? Arrrgh?!!

    This thread just confuses me all the more. Why don’t any of these systems recognise there are people who’d like to /want to / feel they should do web 2.0 (I think) but are unable to achieve it?

  17. An example of how the “Social Networking” sites often are made of Pure Hard Fail was in the “Profiles” setup.. The site in question simply had NO way to list one’s “Dating Status” as not dating/married.

    Though it easily could show you as “Married and looking for…”

    That sort of presumptive arrogance that a person simply HAD to be searching for whatever was so disconcerting- I just said no to their site. Not out of offended morals. Not out of indignation over it appearing slutty. It was not wanting to explain that I am married and REALLY not looking. Let alone explaining that fact to every popup IM etc…

  18. Everything new and unique becomes cool. Everything cool becomes lame. Something new and unique pops up. Look at the death of MySpace, for example; the same will happen to Facebook eventually.

    The book “Nation of Rebels” by Potter and Heath does a good job of describing the “cool/not-cool” cycle of consumer preferences.

  19. If I had a linkedin/deviantart account I wouldn’t want to delete it, no matter how much I hated the product. just in case someone came along afterwards with the same username and (accidentally or otherwise) pretended to be me.

    I do have a habit of setting up accounts for things I never use, on the basis that I want the username.

    Case in point*: there’s a very nice young lady on Youtube with my name.

    (* “…A pointy case with the case inside the point…”)

  20. Cory’s experience of having to email support was true until at least two years ago, or maybe even last year, because it happened to me as well. I can’t remember exactly when it happened because I’ve managed to put the whole incident out of my memory.

    — Earle

    [Note to site admins: I’d have logged in to post this, but your password reset mechanism doesn’t actually provide a way to be reminded of what your username is – so even having reset my password, it’s still not possible to log in.]

  21. Cory, moderator, whoever…

    I would really appreciate a link to a page that explains how to delete a Boing Boing account.

    Thanks, and no snarkiness intended, I just can’t find out how.

  22. Hi CLEMOH

    You said,

    “Secret Life Of Plants spake thusly:
    It is especially difficult because most of us are graduate students and academics who need to retain some privacy and distance from our students and employers.

    Yes, the Ivory Tower crowd needs their privacy, but not the Average Joe, right?”

    Oh NO! I would never mean that! I think that everyone needs privacy! I was just contrasting what I and most of *my* friends need vs. those people who are on FB and Twitter and etc. to try to sell a product or push their business. I have a few of those people as my friends and they mostly update about their blogs or what exciting new product they are advertising. They would probably be super happy to have the whole world read their updates.

    But I will say that the “Ivory Tower” thing is kind of lame. Where do people in the 21st century get this idea? It sounds like something Sarah Palin would say. I teach at and attend a public university. It isn’t like I am Batman studying philosophy and martial arts at a monastery in the Himalayas or something. I think that anyone who thinks Academia is the “Ivory Tower” ought to give it a try for a semester. You can find a school that costs less a semester than your iPhone. At the end of the semester, you can tell me how removed from the “Real World” and sheltered you felt.

  23. Being Batman and studying philosophy and martial arts at a monastery in the Himalayas is not all its made out to be. They don’t tell you about the frostbitten toes and the amorous yaks in the travel brochures.

    Nor the arthritic aging superheroes with impulse control disorder who leave their young loyal desperate for a father figure sidekicks dangling by a dangerously fraying nylon rope from the edge of a forbidding vertical ice wall in the middle of freakin’ nowhere because they got a little carried away with male camaraderie in the intimate confines of a bivouac tent at 22,000 feet what with the rarefied oxygen environment and all not that I’m bitter or anything.

    – Robin

  24. hey, stop making fun of my buddy Delete Delete.. he’s a totally stand-up guy. It’s not his fault he has a funny name.

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