Skip to main content

Facebook Graph Search saves all your creepy searches – and here’s how to delete them

Delete your Facebook History
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Facebook Graph Search has a nasty surprise waiting for you. Did you know that you can revisit all of your Facebook searches (and other activities)? These activities are saved in the history of everything you’re doing on Facebook, down to the minute details. In some cases, this data only goes back a couple years or even just a few months – but that’s still terrifying, right? So with Facebook Graph Search rolling out to more users and encouraging searches for just about anything, we’ve got the low down on how to delete this log from ever seeing the light of day.

Click on “Activity Log”

facebook activity log button
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you click on the “Activity Log” button at the top right corner of your Facebook profile, next to the gear icon, that will take you straight to your Facebook activity page.

Side note: How to surface “Include Only Me” activities

facebook include only me activity
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This is important, so excuse the brief tangent. If you click on the “Include Only Me activity” check box, which can also be found in the top right corner of the Activity Log page, you’ll notice that all of your searches and other activities that are tagged with the lock icon will surface amid your other activities. By default “Include Only Me” activities are by default hidden from your log, including your searches.

Click “More” to open more filters options

Facebook activity log more
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Now to delete the history of your activities, you can go down through the list and unfriend people, unlike content, and delete posts. Or if you’re just really concerned about getting rid of any traces of the search terms you’ve plugged into Facebook, there’s a one-stop solution for deleting all of your searches in one fell swoop (we’ll get to that momentarily).

In the left hand column under Activity Log, click on “More” under where it says “Photos,” “Likes,” and “Comments” to expand and open up additional filter options.

Click on “Search”

facebook activity log search
Image used with permission by copyright holder

At the very bottom of this section above the option titled “Less,” you’ll find an icon labeled “Search.” Click on this.

Clear Searches

facebook activity clear searches
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Now we’re almost done. At the top right corner of the page where all of your search terms are listed, you’ll find an option labeled “Clear Searches.” Again click on this option.

In case you haven’t found it already, the option can be found just above the month and year.

Confirm Clear Search

facebook activity clear searches confirmation
Image used with permission by copyright holder

When you click on “Clear Searches,” Facebook will pop up a confirmation box asking you if you really want to delete a history of your searches. Confirm by clicking on the “Clear Searches” button. But before you click and erase your search history, you might want to hear Facebook out – although the decision is ultimately up to you.

The social network does have a good reason though to ask twice, and it has to do with Graph Search. Facebook’s Graph Search results are closely tied to your history of previous searches, and this is because for every search you make Facebook is getting a better idea about your search habits, which means that over time the social network is able to better tailor search results for you. If you end up deleting a record of your searches, Facebook has to start from scratch and probably wont be able to serve better results. But that’s just a minor inconvenience for a peace of mind.

An empty search history

Facebook activity searches cleared
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you’ve decided to clear your searches, voila, you’re now done and you should be greeted with an empty search history page that’s waiting to be filled up again. Now you’ll know how to purge your history for next time.

Now if you’re really concerned about your privacy, well you can always outright delete your Facebook account for good.

Topics
Francis Bea
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Francis got his first taste of the tech industry in a failed attempt at a startup during his time as a student at the…
Facebook will protect your data — as long as no one’s paying them for it
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaking on a panel at the Paley Center for Media

At a Capitol Hill hearing Tuesday — no, not the one with the impeachment and such — Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) asked Jay Sullivan, Facebook’s product management director for privacy and integrity in Messenger, whether Facebook collected any data from its Messenger Kids app. It was the exact same question, Durbin said, that he had posed to Mark Zuckerberg last year, when he received an answer he deemed unsatisfactory.

“I have significant concerns that the data gathered by this app might be used or sold,” Durbin told Sullivan. “[Zuckerberg] responded, ‘in general, that data is not going to be shared with third parties.’ I said his use of that terms was ‘provocative and worrisome.'” Durbin then asked Sullivan the same question. “Is your answer that there is no information collected via Messenger Kids that is shared by Facebook to any third parties?”

Read more
Twitter is about to delete inactive accounts. Here’s how to keep yours
Hand holding a Twitter phone

If you haven’t checked in on Twitter in a while, you might want to log in; otherwise, you may risk your account getting deleted. Inactive Twitter users will soon be kicked off of the site as Twitter plans to remove all inactive accounts beginning next month. 

A BBC news reporter, Dave Lee, broke the news on Twitter, saying that the social network plans to delete accounts that have remained dormant for more than six months. That time period remains vague, however, since “more than six months” could mean anything from seven months to more than seven years. 

Read more
Here’s how Mark Zuckerberg plans to defend Facebook Libra in front of Congress
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Washington, D.C.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will argue before Congress on Wednesday, October 23 that the social network's cryptocurrency, known as Libra, is essential to expanding banking access around the globe, according to a written version of his testimony released Tuesday.

"There are more than a billion people around the world who don't have access to a bank account, but could through mobile phones if the right system existed," Zuckerberg said. "This includes 14 million people here in the U.S."

Read more