How to delete your Facebook account

With the Cambridge Analytica fiasco in 2018 followed by a hack that compromised more than 50 million accounts, it’s no wonder people want to cut ties with Facebook. Thankfully, you can delete an account in a matter of minutes.

Facebook actually provides two options: Deactivate and delete. Deactivating your account merely puts your information on temporary hiatus so you can take a breather without jumping ship. Deleting an account, however, permanently rids the site of your data. That information includes photo albums, likes, status updates, timeline info, and more.

Moreover, when you delete an account, there’s no option for recovery. After 30 days, it will be like you were never there. You’ll need to start over from scratch if you eventually return.

If you’re ready to free yourself from social media fatigue, our guide first shows how to preserve personal data without actually deleting an account. If you’ve really had enough, skip to the second portion detailing how to delete everything for good.

Alternately, follow our handy guide to protect yourself without completely leaving the social network.

How to temporarily deactivate your Facebook account

Here you can “pause” a Facebook account for however long you need. This method allows you to continue using Messenger. If you eventually return, however, you’ll need access to the email address or phone number associated with your account. Here’s how to deactivate your account:

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

Step 2: Click the Settings option listed on the drop-down menu.

Facebook Settings option

Step 3: The General Account Settings page opens by default. Click the Your Facebook Information option listed on the left.

Step 4: Click the Deactivation and Deletion option.

Your Facebook Information

Step 5: On the following page, click the button next to Deactivate Account followed by the blue Continue to Account Deactivation button. Facebook prompts you for a password.

Facebook Continue to Deactivation

Step 6: Finally, Facebook requires a reason for deactivation. You can explain further if needed and opt out of future emails. Click the blue Deactivate button to finish.

Finalize Facebook Deactivation

That’s it! Go on Facebook vacation and return whenever you want. Remember, you need access to the associated email address or phone number to reactivate your account.

Deletion, part 1: Pack your bags

There’s always a moment of hesitation before you pull the trigger. We get it. You have an increasing wealth of content that began when you stumbled onto Facebook all those years ago. You have so many candid photos, messages, and more that speak highly (or not so much) about you as an individual. Facebook seemingly captured your digital soul.

Luckily, users can download an archival volume of their data for offline use. This data includes photos, shared posts, ads you clicked, and a host of other data not accessible simply by accessing 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 the down arrow button located next to the question mark icon on the navigation bar.

Step 2: Click the Settings option listed on the drop-down menu.

Facebook Settings option

Step 3: The General Account Settings page opens by default. Click the Your Facebook Information option listed on the left.

Step 4: Click the Download Your Information option.

Facebook Download Your Information

Step 5: On the following Download Your Information page, you can pick and choose what specific information you want to download. Click the blue Create File button to begin.

Facebook Create Data File

Step 6: Copying your information may take some time. Once Facebook creates your file(s), you will receive an emailed notification. Head back to the Download Your Information page and click the Available Copies tab.

Step 7: Click the Download button.

acebook Download Your Data

Step 8: Facebook prompts you for a password. Enter the information and click the blue Submit button.

Deletion, part 2: Sever your ties

With a local copy of your Facebook account in hand, you can now delete everything from Facebook.

Remember, once you sign off on your account deletion request, Facebook provides 30 days in which you can log in and immediately reactivate your account. While this may sound convenient should you change your mind during that 30-day window, it’s not exactly convenient if you’re trying to delete the account once and for all.

That’s because third-party apps linked to your Facebook account — like Instagram, Spotify, and Twitter — automatically log you into Facebook, regardless of the deletion request. That means you must remove any linked accounts from the social network prior to deletion. Just make sure to log in to all linked apps without using Facebook-based credentials.

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

Step 2: Click the Settings option listed on the drop-down menu.

Facebook Settings option

Step 3: The General Account Settings page opens by default. Click the Apps and Websites option listed on the left.

Facebook Select Apps and Websites

Step 4: You’ll see a handful of apps listed under the Active tab. To see all connected apps, click the “Show All” option (if available). To delete these apps, click their associated boxes on the right followed by the blue Remove button.

Facebook Remove Apps and Websites

Step 5: A prompt appears on the screen, confirming your action. Click the box to delete all posts, videos, and events associated with these apps. Click the blue Remove button to complete.

Facebook Confirm App Deletion

Step 6: Rinse and repeat as necessary.

Deletion part 3: Hasta la vista, baby

You downloaded all data and deleted all third-party ties with Facebook. Now it’s time to say goodbye to Facebook and 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. 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 vanish without a trace.

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

Step 2: Click the Settings option listed on the drop-down menu.

Facebook Settings option

Step 3: The General Account Settings page opens by default. Click the Your Facebook Information option listed on the left.

Step 4: Click the Deactivation and Deletion option.

Your Facebook Information

Step 5: On the following page, click the Permanently Delete Account option followed by the blue Continue to Account Deletion button. Enter your password if prompted.

Facebook Permanently Delete Account

Step 6: Facebook provides a chance to reconsider before jumping ship. Here you can simply deactivate your account to keep using Messenger. You also have an option to download your information (if you haven’t already). Once you’re ready, click the blue Delete Account button.

Facebook Confirm Account Deletion

Step 7: Avoid Facebook at all costs until Facebook deletes your account for good. Feel the freedom.

Again, do not access Facebook using your desktop browser, mobile device or through any third-party app or service that’s still actively using Facebook’s credentials. Facebook will begin deleting your account after 30 days, though the process may take up to 90 days to permanently delete everything.

If you do log in accidentally within the 30-day grace period, however, repeat the deletion process and verify that you disconnected all third-party apps from Facebook.

Feeling the social media cleanse? Read our guides on how to delete your Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter accounts.

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