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 a long time. 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 reactivate your account accidentally, you’ll need to sign out from all devices, including the mobile app.

Controlling Facebook Privacy

If your issue with Facebook comes from a privacy perspective, 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 grants 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 deleting 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 several 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.
  4. If you can’t get a verification code, click on the No longer have access to these? option at the bottom of the pop-up window. Then, follow the steps to recover your login information.

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.

Note: It’s important to do this before proceeding to delete your account. Once your account is deleted, you will have to reactivate it to download your Facebook data. After a 30-day holding period, your Facebook data is gone forever.

How to delete your Facebook account

3. Permanently Deactivate Your Facebook Account

Now that you’re logged into your Facebook account, and you’ve saved all of your data, it’s time to deactivate your account. Here’s what to do:

  1. Open Facebook and click on the arrow icon in the upper right-hand corner. Then, click on ‘Settings & Privacy.’
  2. Click on ‘Settings’ again.
  3. Click on ‘Your Facebook Information’ on the left side.
  4. Click ‘View’ next to ‘Deactivation and Deletion.’
  5. Click on the bubble next to ‘Delete.’ Then, click on ‘Continue to Account Deactivation.’

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. Remember that you cannot 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.”

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

4. 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 30 days. If you log into your account within the next 30 days, you will have the option to cancel your request.”

After clicking OK on this message, you will have 30 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.

To reactivate your account, sign back into your account.

Frequently Asked Questions

Permanently deleting your Facebook account is a big deal. That’s why we’ve included this section to ensure you can make a fully informed decision before clicking the ‘Delete’ button.

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 30 days after confirming the account deletion.

Is Facebook safe?

While the website 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.’

How do I delete my Facebook account if I can’t log in?

If, for some reason, you can’t log into your Facebook account, the first step is going to be trying to reset your password and gain access. The best-case scenario in this situation is that you can log in and complete the steps above.

However, if your account has been hacked or hijacked, you can regain access by reporting your own account to the Facebook Support team. Visit this website to complete the steps necessary to report your account. Once logged back in, you can follow the steps above to delete your account permanently.

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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