How to delete your Facebook account

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

The recent fiasco with Cambridge Analytica is a perfect example of how Facebook slithers through the lives of every individual whether they know it or not, and why many people simply want to be done with 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 14 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.

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 “Download a copy of your Facebook data” link listed directly under “Manage Account.”

Step 4: On the “Download Your Information” page, click on the green “Start My Archive” button.

Step 5: Enter your password in the pop-up box and hit “Submit.”

Step 6: Click the blue “Start My Archive” button in the popup.

Step 7: Facebook will send a link to the archive via email when it’s ready.

Facebook download

Step 8: After receiving Facebook’s email, click on the link.

Step 9: On the resulting page, click on the green “Download Archive” button and re-enter your password.

Step 10: Select the location where you want to locally store the data and click the “Save” button.

Download archive

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-edge sword. When you request to delete your account, you’ll be given 14 days in which you can login and immediately reactivate your account. While this may sound convenient should you change your mind within the two-week 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 login 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” category in the menu on the left.

Step 4: On the resulting “App Settings” 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.

Facebook

Step 5: To delete apps individually, move your mouse over the app and click on the “X” to remove.

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

Step 7: Rinse and repeat as necessary.

Deletion Part 3: Hasta lavista, 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 14-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 of the face of the Earth.

Step 1: Simply head here to the Help center.

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

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 12.08.09 PM

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

Step 4: In the following pop-up window, Facebook will state that the account will be deleted within 14 days. Click the blue “OK” button to confirm. So long, Facebook!

Facebook delete 2

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 login accidentally, repeat the deletion process and ensure you’ve disconnected all third-party software from Facebook.

Social Media

Three million people quit Snapchat after the redesign

After a million users signed petitions to get the old Snapchat back, the network's user count is showing the early results of the changes with a three-million-user drop in daily active users.
Smart Home

How to set up your Lenovo Smart Display

Here's how to set up your Lenovo Smart Display, including what information you need to provide to the Home app and how to choose the right Google Assistant settings for your new smart screen.
Mobile

Here's how to use iTunes to make a customized ringtone for any iPhone

No one likes to pay for ringtones -- or anything else, for that matter. So hang on to your precious money and check out our comprehensive guide on how to make ringtones for an iPhone using iTunes.
Mobile

Need a do-over? Here's how to factory reset an iPhone, from X on down

Resetting an iPhone can alleviate all sorts of software woes, and wipe away personal data should you sell your device or give it to someone else. Here's how to factory reset an iPhone from within iOS or iTunes.
Mobile

How to transfer your contacts between iPhone and Android devices

There's nothing worse than getting a new phone and realizing you don't have any of your old contacts listed. Luckily, it's an easy problem to solve. Here's how to transfer your contact list to your new device.
Social Media

Facebook wants to help you find a mentor with its latest Groups feature

Facebook is designed for connecting to other people -- so why not mentors? Today, Facebook launched a program inside Groups that allows for two users to go through a mentorship program together.
Features

The numbers don’t lie: Facebook is faltering. So what will eventually replace it?

Facebook is faltering, and the data prove it. User growth is slowing, employee outlooks are dipping, and young people are looking elsewhere. But for Facebook to fail, an alternative must arise. Who will it be?
Social Media

Facebook’s less cluttered friend list feeds are no more

Facebook friend feeds created a more curated news feed -- but not anymore. Facebook discontinued the feature, saying it wasn't widely used. The move will help the network focus on improving the news feed, the company says.
Photography

Starting a vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability.
Photography

For Monaris, it’s a photography career launched on an iPhone and Instagram

On Instagram, she's known just as Monaris. But street photographer Paola Franqui has built a following largely with an iPhone and a smile. We sat down with her to talk photography, style, and Instagram, of course.
Mobile

Marco? Polo! Let's explore the app known as the 'video walkie-talkie'

Marco Polo has been dubbed the "video walkie-talkie," but how does the video messaging app stack up against competitors like Snapchat and Instagram? From unique filters to personalized video messages, we explore the Marco Polo app.
Social Media

Kids can now initiate a friend request on Messenger Kids by using a password

Facebook's messaging app for the under-13 crowd required parents, not kids, to initiate the process of adding a friend. Now kids can start the process by using a unique passphrase -- a feature that still requires parental approval.
Photography

The Nixplay Iris might just make digital picture frames cool again

The digital picture frame's popularity has fizzled because of time-consuming updates and low quality -- but can a Wi-Fi connected frame change that? The Nixplay Iris is an 8-inch smart digital picture frame that wireless updates photos.
Social Media

Instagram hackers are changing account info into Russian email addresses

Have you logged in to your Instagram lately? A hack circulating this month has Instagram users locked out of their accounts because a hacker changed all the profile data, according to a report.