A Look at the Websites That Make It Hardest to Delete Your Account

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Aug. 26 2013 4:43 PM

I Can't Quit You, Skype: A Look at the Websites That Make It Hardest to Delete Your Account

Just Delete Me: How to delete your account on any website
Robb Lewis has color-coded major Web services according to how hard they make it to delete your account. Skype, Netflix, and Evernote are among the worst offenders.

Screenshot / justdeleteme.me

Some adventures are fun. Others are hellish and dispiriting. As a rule, the adventures that ensue when you try to figure out how to delete your account from a Web service like Amazon or Spotify are not the fun kind. They’re the kind that make you want to book a flight to Seattle just so you can hurl your computer through Jeff Bezos’ window.

Will Oremus Will Oremus

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.

It was after marveling at some fed-up users' tweets about how incredibly difficult it is to delete a Skype account that a U.K. developer named Robb Lewis decided to lend a hand. So he built a website that takes the adventure out of account-deletion. It’s called “Just Delete Me,” and it’s as simple as Skype’s account-deletion procedure is convoluted.

  1. Go to justdelete.me and find the service from which you want to delete your account.
  2. Click on the service’s name and follow the instructions on the screen to delete your account.
Advertisement

Step three is optional: If the instructions on the site itself aren’t clear, you can click “show info” on the Just Delete Me page to learn in plain English exactly how to delete your account. Never again will you be forced to wonder, after 20 minutes of clicking around fruitlessly in your Evernote app, whether it’s even possible to delete your Evernote account. (It isn’t, though Just Delete Me will take you to a page where you can at least deactivate it.)

But the best part of Just Delete Me, in the long run, is the color-coding. On justdelete.me, sites that offer easy account deletion are coded green, the moderately difficult ones are yellow, the hard ones are red, and the impossible ones are black. At a glance, the world can now see how desperate various sites are to hang on to their users’ data, even when it’s clear the user wants it back. Forthwith, a sampling of major Web services whose account-deletion procedures Lewis rates as “hard”—in some cases because the "delete" button is buried in the site's bowels, and in others because the only way to delete your account is to actually call up customer service and harangue them in person:

  • Amazon
  • Digg
  • EA Origin
  • Etsy
  • Feedly
  • iTunes / Apple ID
  • New York Times
  • Pandora
  • Shutterfly
  • Skype
  • Spotify
  • Vine

And then there are the Web services that Lewis rates as “impossible.” In some cases they will allow you to deactivate your account, but offer no way to delete your data. In others, you’re just plain out of luck. Which I suppose is another way of saying that if you care about control over your data, you shouldn’t create an account with them in the first place. Too late? Your next best hope may be to shame them into changing their policies. The following sites that Lewis rates "impossible" might be a good place to start:

  • Craigslist
  • Evernote
  • GoDaddy
  • Netflix
  • Pinterest
  • Starbucks
  • Udacity
  • Wikipedia
  • WordPress

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Technocracy
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.