How to. . . delete your Facebook account

It’s not as easy as you think.

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock

 

Have you had enough of Facebook? And if so, what was it that finally tipped you over the edge? Was it the Cambridge Analytica scandal? Perhaps you’ve just seen one too many pouting selfies in your feed. Or the endless quizzes finally pushed you to leave.

Regardless of what got you to this point, you need to know how to delete your account and what happens to your data once you take that final step.

Delete or deactivate

First up: delete or deactivate? You have a choice. You can take a short break from facebook by deactivating your account, rather than the final step of deleting it.

If you deactivate your account, it disables your profile and removes your name and photos from most things you’ve shared. However, all that data sits there, waiting for you to log back into your account, and once you do, all your links and friendships are active once more.

To deactivate your Facebook account, go to Settings> Manage account. Scroll down to deactivate account.

Perhaps deactivating isn’t far enough, and you want to leave Facebook permanently. That leaves you with the nuclear option.

Click on Settings> your Facebook information and select Delete Your Account and Information. Click Delete My Account.

But it’s not that simple. Your account and information won’t disappear immediately from the site. In fact, the process only starts 14 days after you click that delete button, with your account deactivated in the meantime. So any time during that 14 days, you can log in and change your mind.

Add to that the fact that it can take up to 90 days to get everything deleted from back up systems and so on.

Once you delete your account, you can’t reactivate it. All your photos, videos and status updates you put on the site will go. Some messages might linger on friends’ accounts, but that’s it really.

Warning

But before you click that delete button, have a think about what accounts you have linked to Facebook. If you used your Facebook account to sign up services such as Instagram, deleting the account could lose your access to those serbvcies too.

Check out what services have access to your Facebook account by going to Settings>Apps and websites.