How to Delete Facebook Permanently and Get Your Data Back

Facebook was, at one time, an excellent platform where friends and family could re-connect, keep in touch, and share their adventures with others. In today’s hyper-politicized culture, many Facebook users have taken the social media platform to another, less-pleasant, dimension.

How to Delete Facebook Permanently and Get Your Data Back

Aside from negativity and the constant aggravation of over-information, many users are beginning to question their online privacy and security. Facebook is no stranger to controversy as seen with the Cambridge Analytica catastrophe.

If you’re looking to permanently delete your Facebook account and all of the data the company has about you, this article will help!

How to Temporarily Deactivate Facebook

Some users have had their Facebook accounts for well over 10 years. That’s a lot of memories, friends, memes, and other important information to say goodbye to. If you’re worried you’ll miss your account or need something from it later on, you can temporarily deactivate your account.

  1. Click the account menu at the top right of any Facebook page.
  2. Select ‘Settings & Privacy’ then, ‘Settings’ again.
  3. Click on ‘Your Facebook Information’ in the left-hand menu.
  4. Next to ‘Deactivation and Deletion’ click ‘View.’
  5. Make sure that the ‘Deactivate Account’ option is ticked then click on Continue to Account Deactivation.’

If you deactivate your account your profile will no longer be visible. You will no longer appear in your Friends’ lists and people won’t be able to search for you. But, your Facebook Messenger account will remain intact.

To reactivate an account, at any time, you can log back into your account on any device. If you don’t want to accidentally reactivate your account, you’ll need to sign out from all devices including the mobile app.

Controlling Facebook Privacy

If your issue with Facebook comes from a perspective of privacy, there are a few things you can do to control what information the company shares with other companies.

Aside from turning off location permissions and browsing the social media site incognito, Facebook does grant users some power over their data within the website.

If you want more control over your privacy on Facebook, do this:

  1. Follow the steps above by clicking on the arrow icon in the upper right-hand corner. Then, click on ‘Settings & Privacy.’
  2. Click on ‘Privacy Shortcuts.’
  3. Click ‘Manage your information.’
  4. A new webpage will open. Here, you can follow the ‘Facebook’ > ‘I want to manage my data’ path.

Some of the options only give you links to instructions or Facebook’s privacy policy. But, others do let you control the connected applications, ad preferences, and information sharing that the company stores/shares.

To help you protect your data online without having to delete Facebook, Adblock Plus features a tool that lets you disable the social media (Like) buttons embedded on sites outside of the social network. These buttons let Facebook track users’ browsing behavior beyond Facebook, and this data can be open to advertisers. 

How to Permanently Delete Facebook 

There are a number of ways to get to the ‘Delete your Account’ button. First, you can follow the steps above for deactivating your account and select the ‘Delete Account’ option.

You can also follow the steps in the ‘Controlling Facebook Privacy’ section and select the Delete Account option at the bottom of the page. But, if you need more help, here are more specific instructions:

1. Log into Facebook

For security reasons, you will need to log in to delete your Facebook account. If you’re deleting an account you haven’t used in a while and have forgotten your password, you will need to reset it.

  1. Go to the Find Your Account Page
  2. Type the email, phone number, full name, or username associated with your account, then click Search
  3. Follow the step-by-step guide 

Full instructions on how to reset your Facebook password can be found here.

2. Download your Facebook data

 As you’re looking to delete Facebook permanently, you may wish to save your data first. You can do this by clicking on the down arrow in the top right-hand corner of the screen and selecting Settings.

You will be presented with a list of general account settings. At the bottom is a link to “download a copy of your Facebook data”, where you can do exactly that.

How to delete your Facebook account

3. Contact Facebook

Facebook doesn’t make it easy to delete your account and has buried the request form deep in its help pages. To make it easier for you, we’ve linked to it here – you will need to be logged in to continue.

How to delete your Facebook account

A pop-up window should appear which reads: “If you do not think you will use Facebook again and would like your account deleted, we can take care of this for you. Keep in mind that you will not be able to reactivate your account or retrieve any of the content or information you have added. If you would still like your account deleted, click “Delete My Account.”

4. The final step

You will now get a pop-up window warning you, once again, that this is a permanent decision. To permanently delete Facebook, re-enter your password. You will also need to enter a CAPTCHA, then click “OK”.

How to delete your Facebook account

5. The cooling-off period

Clicking OK on the delete pop-up isn’t quite the end of the process. The previous pop-up will instead be replaced with this message: “Your account has been deactivated from the site and will be permanently deleted within 14 days. If you log into your account within the next 14 days, you will have the option to cancel your request.”

After clicking OK on this message you will have 14 days to change your mind. After that time, your account will be gone forever with no way of reactivating it or retrieving any data you didn’t save. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

To reactivate your account, simply sign back into your account.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long with Facebook keep my information after I delete my account?

Facebook’s official word on the issue is that they keep your information for 14 days after you confirm the account deletion.

Is Facebook safe?

While the website itself is pretty secure if you have a strong password and two-factor authentication setup, Facebook is not necessarily safe.

The website/app has a few issues that open you to unknown threats (just like nearly everything else on the internet). If you’ve ever read one of our online safety guides for other services then you’re undoubtedly familiar with the philosophy that your accounts are only as safe as you’ve made them. This means that a lot of your security is in your own hands regardless of the brilliant privacy strategies included by developers.

First, Facebook is less-safe because the company does share your information with other companies. While Facebook may not make this information public, the other company could have security vulnerabilities making it easy to access your personal data. This includes information about your location, your devices, and more.

Next, over-sharing can become a serious issue. Perhaps your friend shares that you’re at a local restaurant, or you post a picture with your child’s school in the background. Be mindful of everything you post on Facebook (including in the background of your photos) to reduce the likelihood that someone will know something about you that you’d rather keep private.

How do I delete Facebook Messenger?

As stated above, when you delete your Facebook account, your Facebook Messenger account remains. To delete your Messenger account, do this:

1. Open Facebook Messenger and tap on your profile icon in the upper right-hand menu to access the dropdown options.

2. Click on ‘Legal & Policies.’

3. Click on ‘Deactivate Messenger.’

4. Input your password.

5. Click on ‘Deactivate.’

Are you considering permanently deleting your Facebook account? Did our tutorial help you to accomplish your goals? Let us know in the comments below!

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