How to Delete Your Facebook Account

Source: Thinkstock

Facebook | Source: Thinkstock

You gave it a shot and decided Facebook isn’t for you, which means it’s time to delete your account. Unsurprisingly, it’s not entirely clear how to do that on the site itself. Relax, we’re here to help. Just follow the steps below.

Related Post: How to Delete Your Twitter Account

Delete or deactivate?

Facebook offers two ways to remove your account from the site.

Deleting your account: Deleting your account is a permanent, irreversible action. It erases your profile, photos, videos, posts, and Timeline. No one will be able to find you on the site by searching for you. Some items, however, like messages you’ve sent to friends, may remain visible to the recipients.

Deactivating your account: Deactivating is similar to deleting, but it lets you reactivate your account later if you so choose. Once again, your profile, photos, videos, posts, and Timeline vanish from the site, and no one will be able to find you by searching. As with deleting, however, messages you’ve sent to friends may remain visible to them.

The difference is that when you deactivate your account, Facebook retains all of your data indefinitely, so you can reactivate your account at any time. If you do, your profile and all of your content will reappear on the site.

How to delete your account

If you’re sure you want to delete your account permanently, here are the steps to follow.

1. Sign into your account

Steps to delete your Facebook account

Facebook login screen

You can’t do much on Facebook without signing in, including deleting your account. So the first step is to log in.

2. Download your Facebook data (optional)

Steps to delete your Facebook account

Facebook data download screen

Facebook lets you download a personal copy of all the posts, photos, videos, messages, and other information you’ve entered on the site. If you want to keep a copy of it before deleting your account, now is the time to do it. Here’s how.

  • From your Timeline, click on the tiny arrow located in the upper right corner of the page. A dropdown menu will appear.
  • Click the “Settings” option.
  • Click the link that says, “Download a copy of your Facebook data,” and follow the instructions.

3. Go to the “Delete My Account” page

Steps to delete your Facebook account

URL for deleting your Facebook account

When you’re ready to pull the plug, it’s time to head to the “Delete My Account” page. Facebook doesn’t want you to leave, so it makes this page hard to find. You can access it either by doing a web search for it, by clicking here, or by entering this URL into your browser:

https://www.facebook.com/help/delete_account

4. Click the “Delete My Account” button

Steps to delete your Facebook account

Facebook account deletion screen

Almost done.

5. Enter your password and solve a CAPTCHA

Steps to delete your Facebook account

Last step to delete your Facebook account

A window will appear, asking for your password and for you to solve a CAPTCHA. Enter the info and click “OK.”

6. You’re Done!

Source: Thinkstock

Success | Source: Thinkstock

You’ll be notified that your information has been removed from the site. This means no one will be able to see your profile, Timeline, photos, videos, etc.

However, Facebook doesn’t delete your data from its servers for 14 days. If you change your mind about deleting your account within that time, you can sign back in and reactivate it. Once 14 days go by, Facebook deletes your data, and there’s no way to get it back.

If you want to deactivate your account instead, read on.

Source: Thinkstock

Facebook on mobile | Source: Thinkstock

How to deactivate your account

If there’s a chance you’ll want to come back to Facebook sometime in the future, you should deactivate your account. It’s a little more complicated than deleting your account, but we’ll walk you through the steps.

1. Sign into your account

Steps to deactivate your Facebook account

Facebook login screen

Enter your information and click “Log In.”

2. Click on the tiny arrow

Steps to deactivate your Facebook account

How to access Facebook settings

It’s located in the upper right corner of the page. Clicking it opens a dropdown menu.

3. Select the “Settings” option.

Steps to deactivate your Facebook account

Facebook menu drop-down

4. Download your Facebook data (optional)

Steps to deactivate your Facebook account

Facebook data download screen

If you want to keep a personal copy of just about everything you’ve ever posted to Facebook, click the link that says “Download a copy of your Facebook data,” and follow the instructions. It might take a while.

5. Click “Security” in the sidebar on the left

Steps to deactivate your Facebook account

Facebook security option

On the “Settings” page, click “Security” in the lefthand sidebar. Why they put the option to deactivate your account under “Security” is anyone’s guess, but that’s where it is.

6. Click “Deactivate your account.”

Steps to deactivate your Facebook account

Where to find Facebook deactivation button

7. Ignore the guilt trip

Source: iMedia Connection

Facebook doesn’t want you to leave | Source: iMedia Connection

Facebook doesn’t want you to leave, so it asks if you’re sure you want to deactivate your account. Then it shows you pictures of your friends, saying that each one will miss you if you leave. If you’re still sure you want to go, quickly scroll down before the pictures melt your heart and make you change your mind.

8. Fill out the form

Steps to deactivate your Facebook account

Facebook requests and explanation for your deactivation

Facebook requires you to select a reason for leaving, with options like “My account was hacked” and “I spend too much time using Facebook.” Select one, then read the options that follow and either check the boxes or leave them unchecked, depending on your preferences.

9. Click “Confirm”

Steps to deactivate your Facebook account

Last step to deactivate your Facebook

Once you click the “Confirm” button, you’re done. Your account is now deactivated, and your information is gone from the site.

Remember, if you change your mind, you can always sign back in and reactivate your account.

Follow Chris on Twitter @_chrislreed

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