How to Permanently Delete Your Facebook Account

Contributed content / By Ebbe Kernel / 19 March 2020

Facebook’s recent controversies have left many people wanting to delete their Facebook accounts permanently. Here’s what people should consider before deleting their accounts.

Facebook is no stranger to data breaches and scandals, beginning with the Cambridge Analytica scandal when an external company obtained millions of users’ data for targeted political ads.

Facebook ultimately admitted to listening to voice memos sent on its Messenger app.

Many consumers have had enough of data breaches, privacy issues, and fake news rampant on social media. 

Maybe you’re one of the many who joined the #DeleteFacebook movement on Twitter and you’re ready to delete your Facebook account and reclaim ownership of your personal data. 

This article walks you through the process of deleting your Facebook account and protect your data.

How to Permanently Delete Your Facebook Account

  1. Know the difference between deactivating and deleting your Facebook account
  2. Prepare to delete your account
  3. Follow Facebook’s steps to delete your account
  4. Make your data private again

1. Know the Difference Between Deactivating and Deleting Your Account

Facebook, like any business, does not want to lose any users or customers.

If you’ve ever considered leaving Facebook, you might have noticed that the default option is not to delete the account but to deactivate it. 

Deactivating your account temporarily pauses account activity. The platform will still store your data and you can restore your account at any time simply by logging in.

You can also still use Facebook’s Messenger app while your account is deactivated. If your goal is to reclaim your personal data, deactivating your account is likely not the best solution.

If you permanently delete your account, however, Facebook will disable your account o the Messenger app and remove all information related to you. 

Keep in mind, however, that data doesn’t clean up that easily. The whole deletion process takes 90 days. 

That means that Facebook gives you 30 days to cancel the deletion request. If you don’t cancel the request, it takes 60 more days for Facebook to clean up your data.

2. Prepare to Delete Your Account

Before you rush to delete everything Facebook-related from your computer and mobile devices, think critically about how you will prepare for your account to be deleted.

Here are a few steps you can take to prepare:

Back Up Your Data

All of your information will disappear from Facebook after you delete your account. 

Your data on Facebook likely includes photos, posts, and messages. If you’d like to keep any of it, you can back your data up. 

Facebook offers resources for how to back up your data successfully. 

Switch Access on External Applications 

Make a list of external app logins operated via your Facebook account. Some common external apps include Spotify or dating apps.

Once you delete Facebook, you’ll lose access to those accounts too. Make sure to switch your login information to something else before you lose access to your Facebook account.

Think Critically About Your Use of Messenger

Once you delete your Facebook account, you won’t be able to use the Facebook Messenger app.

If you decide you still need the Messenger app but don’t want the hassle of managing a Facebook account, then you can simply deactivate your account. 

Delete the Facebook App

If you accidentally log into Facebook with your credentials still intact during the 30-day cancellation period, the whole deletion process starts over.

Simply put, if you click on your Facebook app after being Facebook-free for 25 days, you must wait another 90 days from that moment for your data to be fully deleted.

Make the process easier and delete the Facebook app at the beginning. You won’t be needing it anyway.

Once you’ve taken stock of your external logins and backed up your data, it’s time to begin the process of deleting your Facebook account.

3. Follow Facebook’s Steps to Delete Your Account

Preparing to delete your account often takes more time than actually deleting the account. 

To start the process, all you have to do is log into Facebook. Navigate to ‘Settings’, then ‘Your Facebook information’, and select ‘Deactivation and deletion’. 

deactivate facebook

Facebook allows you to choose between deactivating and deleting your account. Select “Permanently delete account.”

Facebook will then direct you to another window that prompts you to download your information.  

permanently delete Facebook

This dialog box tells you exactly how many photos and posts you will lose if you delete your account without downloading the information. 

Finally, Facebook presents a dialog window that explains the 30-day cancellation process and asks you to confirm the action.

confirm permanent account deletion facebook

 

Once you click on ‘Continue to Account Deletion’, you’ll be asked to enter your password. 

After you’ve completed all of the steps, the 30-day cancellation period begins and your account is on the way to being permanently deleted.

4. Make Your Data Private Again

Though you might be excited to have deleted your Facebook account, it’s important to remember that the social network can still collect your data.

Unfortunately, your data that Facebook already shared with third-party providers and advertisers will remain with those stakeholders forever.

You can still take steps to limit Facebook’s access to your data. 

Delete Facebook-owned Social Networks and Apps

If you use any of Facebook’s other social media holdings, such as WhatsApp and Instagram, you’re basically giving away your data to the company all over again. 

Do yourself a favor and delete your accounts on Instagram, WhatsApp, Masquerade, and the Moves App to limit Facebook’s access to your information. Facebook also owns Oculus VR now, so be wary of using that as well.

Use a Browser That Limits Third-Party Tracking

Targeted ads you see online could be related to the data gathered by third party-providers during your time on Facebook.

You should switch from using Google to a more privacy-focused search engine such as DuckDuckGo. 

Switch to an Encrypted Messaging App

Now that you’re off Messenger and Instagram, you might want to look into a new way of getting in touch with people.

Try encrypted and secure messaging apps such as Signal, which are not owned by Facebook.

Use a VPN or Proxy Service

A virtual private network (VPN) or a proxy service makes your virtual life safer by providing a secure way to connect to the internet.

Take additional steps to make your data more private to avoid the cumbersome task of deleting your account in the future.

Delete Your Facebook Account and Protect Your Personal Information

Many Facebook users have been patient and turned a blind eye to the company’s missteps

Lately, however, people are growing increasingly frustrated with the company’s mishandling of private information.

If you want to delete your Facebook account for good, it’s important to proceed carefully. Decide whether deleting or deactivating your account is right for you.

Then, take steps to ensure you don’t lose any personal data and the deletion process runs smoothly. Finally, follow Facebook’s directions and delete your account.

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