When it comes to Facebook, which has more than 2 billion users worldwide, anything regarding the social media site is likely to make a difference in your life. Like, for instance, nowadays as they are under fire for what transpired between them and Cambridge Analytica.
There’s even a burgeoning and trending #deletefacebook campaign that’s encouraging people to delete their Facebook accounts outright.
Of course, not everybody loves Facebook. A lot of people joined reluctantly, and they hate exposing so much personal information. No matter how guarded their privacy setting, they still get anxious about predatory scams, cyber-bullying, and the threat of identity theft.
As crazy as it sounds, you can turn Facebook off. You can delete your account, dust your hands, and never go back. Or you can rebuild your account from scratch.
The first thing to know is the difference between deactivating your account and deleting your account. If you deactivate, your account will become invisible to everyone.
No one can friend or unfriend you, your wall and personal data are invisible, and all activity pauses. But you can still switch it back on whenever you want, and you’ll pick up exactly where you left off.
Deleting your account means permanently erasing everything you’ve ever put on Facebook. Your account will cease to exist. If that’s your goal, then here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Download your data
Put simply, Facebook doesn’t want you to leave. The company’s global reach is thorough and intense, and the last thing they want is to lose, well, a friend.
As a parting gift, Facebook allows you to download all of your personal data. This is a very easy process: You just go to Settings >> General Account Settings >> Download a copy of your Facebook data >> Start My Archive.
If you ever decide to change your mind, Facebook will be more than happy to help you repopulate a new account with all your old digital furnishings.
Step 2: Request to delete account
Unfortunately, you can’t just flip a switch and be done with it. You have to ask Facebook to delete your account.
You will find the sad and lonely-looking page here. The rest of the process is pretty simple: Just follow the indicated steps.
Step 3: Wait
This is the weirdest part of deleting your Facebook account: It doesn’t happen right away. Your friends can’t see your page. Your feed will stop interacting with others. But your account is still there, hoping you’ll come back and show it some love.
If you do attempt to log in, the deletion process will stop immediately, and you’ll have to start all over.
Incredibly, the whole process of deleting your account will take up to 90 days. But once those three months are over, Facebook should have removed all your information: Every status, picture, anniversary and relationship will vanish from the internet, as if it never existed.
Step 4: Cleaning up afterward
Just because your account is closed doesn’t mean that traces of your activity don’t linger. Your messages will remain in other people’s inboxes. Photos that were copied from your albums may appear in other people’s feeds.
There’s nothing you can do about these remaining bits, except ask people nicely to remove them or just pray they weren’t embarrassing. If you request to have these messages and photos deleted, your old network should be able to do this easily. That’s how you’ll know who your real friends are.