How to delete your Facebook account

Sick of Facebook privacy scandals? Here's how to protect your personal data

With the fiasco with Cambridge Analytica in March and the more recent Facebook hack where more than 50 million accounts were compromised, it’s no wonder people are trying to find a way out of the social network.

Thankfully, deleting your Facebook profile can be done in a matter of minutes. Whereas deactivating your account will only put some of your information on temporary hiatus, deleting it indefinitely will permanently rid the site of your data, from photo albums and Likes to status updates and timeline info, with no option for recovery. After 30 days, it will be like you were never there to begin with.

Ready to free yourself from social media fatigue? Scroll down a bit if you want to learn how to protect your personal data without actually deleting Facebook. If you’ve really had enough though, follow the instructions below. Alternately, you can protect yourself without completely leaving the social network — just follow our handy guide.

How to temporarily deactivate your Facebook account

First, say you just want to take a break from Facebook, but not sever ties completely. There is a way to temporarily deactivate your account for however long you want.

Step 1: Click on the down arrow button next to the question mark icon on the navigation bar.

Step 2: Click “Settings.”

Facebook

Step 3: On the resulting “General Account Settings” page, click “Manage Account.”

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Step 4: Click “Deactivate your account.” You will then be prompted to enter your password, next click “Continue.”

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Step 5: Facebook will then prompt to share the reasoning behind the deactivation. Once you have chosen why you are leaving, click “Deactivate.”

how to delete your facebook account deactivatepromptfb

Deletion Episode 1: Pack your bags

Much like anything you don’t necessarily need to do, but desire to do, there’s always a moment of hesitation before you pull the trigger. You’ve likely built up a wealth of Facebook content since you stumbled onto the site all those years ago, a good deal of it in the form of candid photos, messages and other content that speaks highly (or not so much) about you as an individual.

Luckily, Facebook allows users to download an archival volume of your data for offline use, including photos, posts you’ve shared, ads you’ve clicked and a host of other data not accessible simply by logging into your account. It’s quick and easy to download, and though it won’t be as exciting as navigating your actual timeline, at least it’s there should you want to virtually stroll down memory lane.

Step 1: Click on the down arrow button next to the question mark icon on the navigation bar.

Step 2: Click “Settings.”

Facebook

Step 3: On the resulting “General Account Settings” page, click on the “Your Facebook Information,” category in the menu on the left.

Step 4: On the “Your Facebook Information” page, click on “Download Your Information” button.

how to delete your facebook account fbinfo

Step 5: In the “Download Your Information” page, you can pick and choose what specific information you want to download. Click “Create File.”

how to delete your facebook account downloadfbinfo

Step 6: Once the file is created you will receive a notification, which will direct you back to the “Download Your Information” page.

Step 7: Click “Download.” You will have to enter your password to download the file.

Step 8: Once you click “Submit” the download will begin.

Deletion Episode 2: Sever your ties

Now that you have a local copy of your Facebook account, you can move to delete it from the social website. But that’s a drastic step: one that Facebook intentionally buries within its Help Center. You can deactivate your account for any amount of time, but getting to the process of actually ridding yourself of Facebook forever is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Facebook’s grace period is a double-edged sword. When you request to delete your account, you’ll be given 30 days in which you can login and immediately reactivate your account. While this may sound convenient should you change your mind within a one month span, it’s not exactly convenient if you’re trying to delete your account once and for all.

That’s because there’s a slight problem. Third-party apps you’ve previously linked to your Facebook account — such as Instagram, Spotify, and Twitter — will automatically log you into Facebook, regardless if you’ve chosen to delete your account. That being said, it’s best to remove any linked accounts from the social network prior to deletion. Just make sure to log in to the app next time using its respective login credential, not your soon-to-be-deleted Facebook info.

Step 1: Click on the down arrow button next to the question mark icon on the navigation bar.

Step 2: Click “Settings.”

Facebook

Step 3: On the resulting “General Account Settings” page, click the “Apps and Websites” category in the menu on the left.

Step 4: On the resulting “App and Websites” page, you’ll see a handful of listed apps. To see all connected apps, click on the “Show All” to list (surprise!) an insane number of connected apps.

how to delete your facebook account fbappsandwebsites

Step 5: To delete apps individually, move your mouse over the app and click the box to insert a checkmark.

Step 6: In the pop-up box, click on the blue “Remove” button.

Step 7: Rinse and repeat as necessary.

Deletion Part 3: Hasta la vista, baby

Once you’ve downloaded your data and unlinked all third-party ties with Facebook, it’s time to actually delete your account. Again, there’s no going back once the 30-day grace period expires, so make sure deleting your account is the right decision for you. Jot down those birthdays and ask your online friends for contact info outside of Facebook. Deleting your Facebook account doesn’t have to mean you’ll drop off the face of the Earth.

Step 1: Simply head here to the Help center.

Step 2: Click on the blue “Delete Account” button.

how to delete your facebook account deletefb

Step 3: In the following pop-up box, enter your password and then hit the white “OK” button.

Step 4: In the next pop-up window, Facebook will state that the account will be deleted within 30 days. Click the blue “OK” button to confirm. So long, Facebook!

how to delete your facebook account confirmfbdelete

Step 5: Avoid Facebook at all costs until account deletion. Feel the freedom.

Most importantly, do not access the website using your desktop browser, mobile device or through any third-party app or service that’s still active using Facebook’s credentials. Your account will be permanently deleted after the given amount of time. If you do log in accidentally, repeat the deletion process and ensure you’ve disconnected all third-party software from Facebook.

If you’re feeling the social media cleanse here is how to also delete your Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.

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