Since it began in 2004, Facebook has been accused of mishandling data and helping contribute to misinformation.
For those that would prefer not to remain a part of Facebook’s network, for whatever reason, there is an easy way to deactivate, as well as completely deleting, their account.
Deleting a Facebook account will completely remove it from the site, while deactivating will make the account inoperable for anyone else on the platform, but the information it has collected will be retained by the company.
While deleting an account is not immediately permanent – Facebook allows users to go back on their decision after 90 days – once the countdown passes that three-month period it will be impossible to resurrect.
How to download your personal information
Before deleting your Facebook account, you should download all the personal information that the site has scooped up. This can include pictures, message archives, posts, and more.
To do this, navigate to Facebook on the web. Click on the drop down arrow at the top right of the site, and hit “Settings & privacy”.
Following that, hit the “Settings” button, and then choose “Your Facebook information” on the left hand side. You can then view or download your information, setting a particular date range, or choosing whether it should be in HTML or JSON.
It also lets you select exactly which data you would like to download, allowing you to exclude likes and reactions, or stories, for example.
Once that is done, click the blue ‘create file’ button; Facebook will then send you an email when your data is ready.
How to deactivate your Facebook account
Deactivating a Facebook account can be done through the same steps: navigate to Facebook on the web. Click on the drop down arrow at the top right of the site, and hit “Settings & privacy”.
Then go into Settings, and head to “Your Facebook information”. Under that will be a button that says “Deactivating or deleting your Facebook account”. Hitting that will give you the option to review your decision, and deactivate the account.
“Your account will be disabled and your name and photos will be removed from most things you’ve shared. You also won’t be able to access Oculus products or your Oculus information. You’ll be able to continue using Messenger”, Facebook advises.
This setting is temporary, and you will be able to bring your Facebook account back when you choose.
How to delete your Facebook account
Deleting a Facebook account is found under the same section, underneath the deactivation settings.
“When you delete your Facebook account, you won’t be able to retrieve the content or information that you’ve shared on Facebook. Your Messenger and all of your messages will also be deleted”, Facebook states on its website.
“Deleting your Facebook account will also delete your Oculus information. This includes your app purchases and achievements. You will no longer be able to return any apps and will lose any existing store credit.”