How to delete a Facebook account permanently in 3 simple steps

Follow our independent guide on how to permanently delete a Facebook account, plus we reveal the difference between deactivating and deleting Facebook.

How can I delete my Facebook account?

Increasingly, people don’t trust Facebook when it comes to their privacy, despite Mark Zuckerberg’s best efforts. So lots of people want to know how to leave the service for good.

And it’s not just about online privacy – many people are tired of constant status updates from old friends that you’ve moved on from. So there are plenty of reasons why you might want to delete your Facebook account.

In this 100% independent guide, we’ll walk you through the process of how to delete Facebook step-by-step, including outlining the difference between ‘deactivating’ your account, and deleting it entirely. And we’ll talk about how you can manage what Facebook knows about you too.

Finally, if you really want to purge Facebook’s data tendrils from your private life, you’ll need to consider removing Instagram and Whatsapp too – find out how to do this below.

1. How to delete or deactivate a Facebook account (what’s the difference?)

There are two different ways to get your Facebook account offline. The first is deactivating, which means:

  • You can reactivate your account whenever you want
  • People can’t see your Facebook Timeline, or search for you
  • Some information may remain visible (like messages you’ve sent)
  • Facebook saves your account info (like friends and interests) in case you reactivate

But deleting your account is a much more serious matter. If you delete your account, the following happens:

  • Facebook delays deletion for a few days after the request is made. If you log in during the grace period, the deletion is cancelled
  • You can’t regain access to your Facebook account once it’s deleted
  • It can take up to 90 days for your data that’s stored in backup systems to be deleted. However, your info isn’t accessible on Facebook during this time
  • Some things aren’t stored in your account, like messages that you’ve sent to friends – these will remain active
  • Copies of some material (like log records) may remain in Facebook’s database, but are “disassociated from personal identifiers,” according to the company

Basically, deactivating is a way to cool off from Facebook for a while, while deleting is a permanent solution that you should think carefully about before choosing.

2. How to deactivate Facebook account

To deactivate your Facebook account, follow these five steps:

  • Click the account menu down arrow at the top right of any Facebook page in your web browser
  • Select ‘Settings
  • Choose ‘General’ in the left column
  • Click ‘Manage your account
  • Press ‘Deactivate your account’, and then follow the steps to confirm your decision

To reactivate your account after deactivating it, simply log into Facebook your e-mail and password. Your profile will be entirely reinstated.

3. How to delete your Facebook account

Deleting your Facebook account is a serious decision given its impact, so make sure it’s something you really want to do.

Whether you like it or not, social media is now ingrained in society, and your Facebook profile can influence friendships, job prospects, and social opportunities. Remember that there are also ways to secure your Facebook privacy settings short of deletion, if that’s your particular concern.

If you’re set on binning the social network off for good, click the following link and choose the ‘Delete my account’ option:

Before deleting your account, it may be worth downloading your Facebook data. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Click the account menu down arrow at the top right of any Facebook page in your web browser
  • Click ‘Download a copy of your Facebook data’ at the bottom of your General Account Settings
  • Choose ‘Start My Archive

The file that begins downloading will contain your Facebook profile information, so be very careful about where you keep it.

Managing other Facebook data

It’s worth noting that deleting Facebook doesn’t necessarily remove you completely from its clutches. That’s because Facebook code is built into nearly every website via social share and ‘Like’ buttons, and Facebook can (and does) track your web usage in this way. However, it’s possible to gain some control over this via its ‘Clear History‘ feature, which disassociates this data from your Facebook profile.

How to leave other Facebook-owned services

Facebook is much more than – the company also owns Whatsapp and Instagram (as well as Oculus). So be aware – if you want to really expunge Facebook from your life, you’ll have to delete both those other social media accounts too. Find out how to do this below:

Video: how to delete Facebook

Check out our easy to follow video guide below.

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