In the wake of the Yahoo data breaches a few years ago, we showed you how to dump Yahoo Mail in response to Yahoo’s poor handling of the situation. The same thing feels appropriate as a response to Facebook’s huge Cambridge Analytica “data breach,” although leaving a social network might be a lot harder than replacing your email.
Nevertheless, it sure looks like there’s a #DeleteFacebook hashtag on Twitter, which means plenty of people are ditching their Facebook accounts in response to these revelations. It’s actually pretty simple to delete your account, and we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about it.
First of all, you should know this wasn’t actually a hack. This is a crucial detail. Your data has not been stolen and you’re not at risk. However, developers used the user data resources Facebook put at their disposal, and then went creative about using said data for election-related purposes. Does that mean any apps could have, at the time, harness the same information about you? That’s probably likely, which is why this may turn out to be a huge headache for Facebook.
Before you deactivate or delete Facebook, you might want to consider downloading a copy of your Facebook data, just to make sure everything you’ve been posting on Facebook all these years isn’t lost — there’s a “Download a copy of your Facebook data” option right below “Manage Account” in the “Settings” menu.
The first thing you’ll want to do is download your data from Facebook.Facebook
Also, you should consider deactivating or deleting Facebook on a computer rather than on mobile phone, so you can grab your data beforehand. But make sure you remove your Facebook apps from smartphones and tablets if you go through with deleting or deactivating Facebook.
If you want to deactivate your Facebook account, load the social network in your browser and then tap on that down arrow in the top right corner. Click on “Settings,” which automatically loads the “General Account Settings” page.
After you’ve saved your data, click on “Manage Account,” the last option in the list, which lets you modify your legacy contact settings or deactivate the account. Then look for “Deactivate your account.”
Deactivating your account is one option to protect your privacy.Facebook
This is where Facebook will ask for your password to make sure you actually want to go forward with this.
If you go forward with this option, you’ll be able to rejoin Facebook whenever you want and your data will still be there.
If deactivating your account isn’t good enough, full-on deletion is your next best option.Facebook
A Facebook account deletion, meanwhile, actually removes all your data from Facebook, which is probably the action that fits best with the #DeleteFacebook movement.
To delete your Facebook account, head straight to Facebook’s “Delete My Account” page.
You’ll still have to wait some 90 days until your data is permanently removed from Facebook servers, but your account would effectively be deleted the moment you request it.
How to delete or deactivate a Facebook account – what’s the difference?
There are two different ways to get your Facebook account offline. The first is deactivating, which means:
- You can reactivate your account whenever you want
- People can’t see your Facebook Timeline, or search for you
- Some information may remain visible (like messages you’ve sent)
- Facebook saves your account info (like friends and interests) in case you reactivate
But deleting your account is a much more serious matter. If you delete your account:
- Facebook delays deletion for a few days after the request is made. If you log in during the grace period, the deletion is cancelled
- You can’t regain access to your Facebook account once it’s deleted
- It can take up to 90 days for your data that’s stored in backup systems to be deleted. However, your info isn’t accessible on Facebook during this time
- Some things aren’t stored in your account, like messages that you’ve sent to friends – these will remain active
- Copies of some material (like log records) may remain in Facebook’s database, but are “disassociated from personal identifiers,” according to the company
Basically, deactivating is a way to cool off from Facebook for a while, while deleting is a permanent solution that you should think carefully about before choosing.
Related: Delete an Instagram account
To deactivate your Facebook account, follow these four steps:
1. Click the account menu down arrow at the top right of any Facebook page in your web browser2. Select ‘Settings’3. Choose ‘General’ in the left column4. Click ‘Manage your account’5. Press ‘Deactivate your account’, and then follow the steps to confirm your decision
To reactivate your account after deactivating it, simply log into Facebook your e-mail and password. Your profile will be entirely reinstated.
Related: How to undo Snapchat’s 2018 update
Deactivating vs Deleting Facebook – What You Need to Know
Before we get to the step-by-step walkthrough, it’s important to understand the two options Facebook gives you when you decide to close your account.
You can choose to either deactivate your profile, or fully remove it from existence. As you can probably guess, the former option keeps your data on the platform, while the latter erases it completely.
If you deactivate your Facebook account:
- No one besides you will be able to see your profile.
- Specific information, such as sent messages, will remain visible.
- Your name will show up on friend lists, but only for your friends.
- Your name, posts, and comments will be visible to the admins of groups you’re joined.
- You will be able to keep using Messenger.
You can deactivate your account for as long as you’d like, but logging back in or using the account to log into a connected app/service will prompt the reactivation process.
If you choose to permanently delete your Facebook account:
- You won’t be able to reactivate your account.
- All the content you’ve added/uploaded on Facebook will be gone forever, without the possibility of retrieving it (unless you’ve downloaded an archive of your data beforehand).
- Apps that use your Facebook account won’t be accessible via Facebook Login anymore.
- Specific information, such as messages you’ve sent to friends, won’t be fully deleted and will remain visible to them.
- You won’t be able to use Messenger.
Facebook gives you 30 days to think about your decision and cancel the deletion process if you change your mind. After that period expires, your account and all related data to it will disappear forever. Keep in mind that it may take up to 90 days for all your information to be permanently deleted – during that period, Facebook users won’t have access to it.
How to Delete Connected Apps on Facebook
Removing the apps you’ve used your Facebook account to log into is a good idea if you’re on your way towards permanently deleting it. Here’s what you need to do:
1. In your Settings page, click on Apps and Websites.
2. You’ll be presented with lists of active, expired and removed apps. To delete an active app, tick the box next to it and click on Remove:
3. Expired apps no longer request your private information, but you can still log into them with your account. You can edit the info they request, or you can remove them altogether.
TIP: Removing your connected apps isn’t a requirement if you want to delete your Facebook account permanently. However, accessing a connected app with your Facebook account may require you to cancel the deletion process if you’ve started it already.
How to Delete Photos, Videos, and Albums on Facebook
You can easily review and remove the photos, videos, and albums you’ve uploaded on Facebook via the Filters panel. Here’s how:
1. Access your Activity Log.
2. Navigate to Photos and Videos, right in the middle of the list.
3. A list of your uploaded media will appear in chronological order. To delete an item, click on the pencil-shaped icon on the right side:
TIP: Your profile, cover, and featured photos can’t be deleted. You can only choose whether they are shown or hidden on your timeline.
If you’d rather delete entire albums, navigate to the Photos > Albums tab in your profile. There, you can view and quickly remove your collections.
How to Delete Facebook Comments and Posts
If you want to remove your comments and replies on Facebook without having to wait for up to 90 days, you need to do the following:
1. Access your Activity Log.
2. Go to Comments, right under Photos and Videos.
3. Follow the same procedure: click on the pencil-shaped icon on the right, then Delete:
You can do the same for your Facebook posts. The only difference – you’ll need to click on Posts instead of Comments in the list. You can find the Posts button at the beginning of the list, under the Activity Log option.
Backup your Facebook data
Before saying goodbye to your Facebook life, you should backup your data in case you need it at a later point in time.
- Go to Settings.
- While in the General tab. Click Download a copy of your Facebook data.
- Click Start My Archive.
- Enter your Facebook account password. Click Submit.
- Click Start My Archive in the Request My Download box.
Facebook will then gather all your data and send the copy to your registered email address.
How to deactivate your Facebook account?
It’s simple. You might be thinking why I am telling you such a simple thing. If you know how to deactivate your Facebook account, it’s good. But some people might not be aware of this. Here are the steps to deactivate your Facebook account:
- Go to Settings.
- Click General in the left pane. Earlier the option to deactivate Facebook account was on the Security page (now Security and Login).
- Click Manage Account on the screen. Then click Deactivate your account.