Facebook: You can never leave

So says the New York Times which runs a nice article explaining how Facebook keeps you from deleting your account. Money quote: “Some users have discovered that it is nearly impossible to remove themselves entirely from Facebook, setting off a fresh round of concern over the popular social network’s use of personal data.” Neither can you move your contacts to a different social networking site, as Scoble pointed out recently.

So here’s the racket. All these Web 2.0 guys built their businesses on open-source software like the LAMP stack and all went around raving about the wonders of open source and how great it is that there’s no vendor lock-in — and then they set about locking their own users in. Sure, it’s not the kind of hooks that old-school gangstas like IBM and EMC used to use. It’s less overt and more subtle. At Google they call this the “Velcro business model,” meaning you can, in theory, get yourself unstuck, but it takes some effort. Squirrel Boy loves to talk about it and he says that all you have to do is spout some pious bullshit about empowering users and putting their needs first and then you can get away with anything you want.