How to Permanently Delete Facebook: 2021 Edition
Numerous scandals surrounding Facebook including those relating to misinformation, privacy, freedom of speech, tax practices and even cybercrime have all resulted in Facebook losing trust in a lot of their users.
Up until 2007, even those individuals that deleted their Facebook accounts didn’t have their user information removed, which ended up being more of an account suspension rather than deletion. Today, you have two options:
- Deactivation – This allows the user to come back after some time to a full account, with the data remaining available to Facebook even if you don’t ever return.
- Permanent Deletion – This will entirely erase all data from Facebook connected to your account, with no option of ever retrieving it once it’s gone.
Keep reading to find out the difference between deactivating vs permanently deleting Facebook and answer more burning questions regarding the deletion of Facebook.
Difference Between Deactivating and Deleting Facebook
If you deactivate your Facebook account:
- Nobody will be able to see your profile or search for you
- Some data (like sent messages) will be invisible
- You will only show up on your friend’s lists
- You can keep using Messenger
- Things like your name, posts, and comments will be visible to admins of the groups you have joined
If you permanently delete your Facebook account:
- You will not be able to reactivate the account ever again
- All of the content uploaded like your photos, videos, comments, etc. will not be retrievable
- You won’t be able to use your Facebook account to log into any apps
- Your messages will still be visible to friends
- You won’t be able to use Messenger
IMPORTANT TO NOTE:
It takes a few days for Facebook to fully delete your account. If you happen to log into your account during the deletion period, Facebook will cancel the deletion process and your account will remain active.
Also, it takes up to 90 days for Facebook to totally delete any data stored in its backup systems.
How To Deactivate Your Facebook Account
If you simply want a break from using Facebook for a while (even if it’s a long while), but you’re not sure you want to cut yourself off from the option of using it again someday, you can always deactivate your account.
When your account is inactive, your timeline will not be visible to anyone, and there will be no way to search for your account. It’s kind of like being invisible, with the option of showing yourself again, exactly as you were before, whenever you want.
To deactivate your Facebook account, follow these steps:
- Log into Facebook and head to the top right of the page on the account menu
- Click on ‘Settings’
- Choose ‘General’ in the lefthand column
- Go to ‘Manage your account’
- Click ‘Deactivate your account’
- Facebook will ask you to confirm your decision to deactivate, click confirm, and you’re done!
Steps to Take Before Deleting Facebook For Good
If you’re absolutely sure that you want to permanently delete your Facebook account, there are some steps you need to take beforehand to make sure that you won’t leave a data trail behind you.
Download All Your Facebook Data
You might not want to lose things like photos and videos you’ve uploaded to Facebook over the years. So before permanently deleting your Facebook account, follow these steps to download your data before it’s gone:
- On your computer, head to the Facebook help page on how to delete your account here
- Find the account menu down arrow located and the top right of your Facebook page in your web browser
- Click on Download a copy of your Facebook data which is on the bottom of your General Account Settings
- Select Start my Archive
Facebook will give you all of your information in a manageable ZIP file. Once this step is completed you can click on Your Facebook Information and then choose the Deactivation and Deletion option that you will find in the list of settings available.
Delete Facebook Related Apps
If you’re going to permanently remove Facebook, then it might be a good idea to delete the related apps as well.
- Go to Settings
- Click on Apps and Websites
- There you will see active, expired, and removed apps. In order to delete an active app just tick the box next to it and click on Remove.
You should know that expired apps will not request your private information, however, you can still log into them using your account. You’re also able to edit the information they request or remove them completely.
How to Permanently Delete Your Facebook
If you want to delete your Facebook account for good, you should know that there is no going back or retrieving your information after this has happened.
- Head over to the following link and select the ‘Delete Account’.
- Prior to deleting your account forever, you might want to download all of your Facebook data. This includes things like your photos, videos, and posts that you have uploaded in the past.
- Select the box titled Permanently Delete Account
- Click on Continue to Account Deletion as soon as you’re ready to proceed. (Before you go on, Facebook will warn you of the consequences that come with permanently deleting your account.)
- One more security step will require you to enter your password
- Click continue
You will be met with a final message from Facebook letting you know that in case you should change your mind, it will keep your profile and data for 30 days:
“You’re about to permanently delete your account. if you’re ready to delete, enter your password and click Delete Account. Once you submit your account for deletion, you have 30 days to reactivate your account and cancel the deletion. After 30 days, the deletion process will begin and you won’t be able to retrieve any of the content or information you have added.”
- Click on Delete Account
- You’ve done it. Facebook will sign you out and redirect you to the Log into Facebook page.
Reasons Why You Might Want To Delete Facebook
It is clear that Facebook is being used as a tool for both political polarization and manipulation. This is evident from the accusations of Russian election interference, as well as the Cambridge Analytica Scandal.
According to Wired, Cambridge Analytica is “a political data-analysis firm that worked on the 2016 Trump campaign. CA’s professed advantage is having enough data points on every American to build extensive personality profiles, which its clients can leverage for psychographic targeting of ads.”
The problem was how Cambridge Analytics acquired such a vast dataset of the American electorate. The company is being accused of having and using the data of more than 50 million Facebook users without getting their permission first.
Another reason as to why you might want to delete Facebook is that it knows everything about you. Each article you read, all your shares, likes, and clicks are both recorded and monitored carefully.
You also might be located in a country where Facebook is illegal, and you don’t want your account to be discovered by third parties. For this, you can also use a Facebook VPN to hide your IP address.
Lastly, research has shown that Facebook addiction ‘activates the same part of the brain as cocaine.’
It’s important to understand as much as you can about online privacy and how to keep your data secure, with social media and any other online accounts you might have.
It can be a difficult decision to delete Facebook in 2021, particularly when there are so many relationships that we have formed and nurture online. At the same time though, it is incredibly worrying as to the amount of data social media platforms such as Facebook keep on their users.
Now that you know how to delete Facebook permanently in 2021, all you need to do is back up your files and start your new life.