Removing your Facebook foot prints

Think about it for just a moment.  Who looks at your Facebook history?  There are only two types of people who look back at what you’ve posted on Facebook: advertisers and stalkers.  The human-to-human interaction on social media is about the now.  It is not really much about last month let alone last year.  The history that you’ve left on Facebook is used by the platform to identify trends in your life to help focus advertisements that are more likely to generate sales.  Let me say it another way: Facebook is using the information you post about yourself to sell you to the advertisers.  Facebook’s value is not in their code or their physical assets; the value is in what they know about you (and millions of other people).screen-shot-2010-10-21-at-15-20-20

And then there are the stalkers and ex’s in your life that want to look at your whole history to see what you’ve done, been doing or plan to do.

The Facebook activity log allows you to delete information one at a time, post by post.  This is really a time-consuming and mind-numbing process.  Facebook wants it that way to reduce the people who want to limit their information.  Very handy when the objective is to eliminate the past without entirely closing and recreating your account

iMacros is a nifty add-on that allows the scripting of actions through a web interface.  The most robust version of iMacros is using FireFox on a Windows machine.  I’m now using the Chrome on Mac version.  It works just as well because we’re not doing very complex things here.

The software’s home is http://www.iopus.com/imacros/.  You can also find it on the various browser add-on stores.  Download and installation is quick and painless.

I’m going to lead you at a high level of this instead of doing a complete step-by-step here.  Each version is slightly different.  Facebook’s updates also limit the reuse of macros month-to-month since the web page code slightly changes.

1st: Get to the right spot.  Go to the Facebook Activity Log.  Pick one subset of activities.  Each activity type has a unique series of steps to remove them.  I usually do “likes” first.  You are ready when you’re looking at the list.

2nd: Turn on the iMacro’s recorder.  Use only your mouse, and not the keyboard for these next steps.  Click the pencil (edit) next to a post.  A drop down appears.  Click Delete (or remove or whatever).  Follow the confirmation to completely remove the post.  Do this two or three more times.  You’ll notice the iMacros window is capturing the steps.  Turn off the iMacro recorder.

3rd: Edit the macro.  Highlight and delete the line near the top that does the go to for the webpage.  It is the only line that includes the full Facebook URL.  Add the following three lines of code in that spot:

SET !ERRORIGNORE YES
SET !REPLAYSPEED MEDIUM
SET !TIMEOUT_PAGE 15

These codes slow the macro down so the web page can keep up, and ignores any errors.

4th: Copy and paste the code.  Highlight all the rest of the code.  These lines usually start with “TAG POS”.  Copy and paste this code about five times to the end.  Make certain you paste on a new line.  The macro will error out if two TAG POS statements appear on the same line.

5th: Save the code.  Give it a name to make it easily separated from the rest.  I usually do something like “FB Remove Likes”.  The others would be “FB Remove comments” and so on.

6th: Run the code.  You’ll see it step through the page as if magical elves were clicking for you.  If something wasn’t done right, a small iMacros error will appear below the script steps or control buttons.  When it runs right, you’ll see it finish.  Now, run the code using the Play Loop button.  I usually set the number of loops to 300.  Any number is fine.

 

Tips:

When the activity logs gets full of notes like “This item is deleted.”  Or if you want to see where you are, just stop the macro.  Refresh the page.  Restart the macro.  I do this just to keep it cleaner.

In step #2, don’t take the first item in the list.  Go down two or three.  I find that it causes the script to run better.  Dunno why.  It is.