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Facebook Deactivations Gaining Attention

The phrase "how to quit Facebook" generated nearly 17 million results in a recent Google search, and prominent tech industry figures are ditching their accounts on the social networking site.
Whether they are driven by privacy concerns or fed-up with the amount of time they spend updating their accounts, apparently Facebook users are increasingly curious about the social networking site's farewell policies.

The phrase "how to quit Facebook" generated 16.9 million results in a Google search Tuesday morning, while "how do I delete my Facebook account?" resulted in 15.9 million links.

Some well-known industry names have made much-publicized cuts to their Facebook ties. Google's webspam chief Matt Cutts deactivated his Facebook ties on April 22, according to comments he made on Twitter. "I just deactivated my Facebook account using the guide [here]. Not hard to do & you can still revive it later," he wrote. "It was really useful. I wasn't expecting the FB guilt trip + dynamic "don't go" box + password request + captcha though."

Peter Rojas, Gizmodo and Engadget founder, and co-founder of technology blog gdgt tweeted about his decision to cut his Facebook ties. "I was spending more time managing my account than actually using my account," he toldABCNews.com. "Having to constantly monitor the privacy settings was way too complicated. You can never be sure if you actually caught everything."

Facebook offers users two options: Deactivate or delete. With deactivation -- found under Account Settings -- accounts are frozen and profile information is no longer available on Facebook but the site saves the information in case the user wishes to return to the social networking site.

Deactivated users do not show up on community pages, and tagged photographs are de-tagged. In addition, status updates from the user's page are taken down and names on friends' walls are no longer clickable. Users can keep their accounts deactivated for an unlimited amount of time, according to Facebook.

"We preserve the account in its entirety. People often deactivate for temporary reasons and expect their content and information to be there for them when they return," a Facebook spokesman said in a statement to ABCNews.com.

Those looking to completely end their relationship with Facebook can opt to delete their accounts by visiting the Help Center and searching for "delete account." To prevent spur-of-the-moment break-ups, Facebook then waits 14 days to delete the account. Copies of some materials may be kept for "technical reasons," according to Facebook.

"Because deletion is irreversible, this allows people who mistakenly submitted a request to let us know so we can cancel it," the Facebook spokesman told ABCNews.com.