How to Delete or Deactivate Your Facebook Account

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FacebookDeleting and Deactivating your Facebook account are two different things. Here's how to do both.

Facebook is in the news this week, with 'delete Facebook account' trending on search engines and social media. If you're thinking of deleting or deactivating your account, here's the difference between the two, and the steps you need to take to use either option.
If you're considering swtiching to Instagram, it's worth pointing out that Facebook owns both Instagram and WhatsApp.

Deactivating a Facebook account
Deactivating your Facebook account means it will disappear - it won't show up using a Facebook search and your friends won't be able to see it. Some information, such as messages that you've sent, may remain visible. You can reactivate it at any time by logging into Facebook.
To deactivate your account:

  • Log in to Facebook
  • Click the drop-down arrow on the toolbar (on mobile, click ☰)
  • Select Settings.
  • Click General in the left column.
  • Choose Manage Account
  • Scroll down to click 'Deactivate your account'.
  • Click on the 'Deactivate Now' button

Deleting a Facebook account
Deleting your Facebook account is pretty much just that - completely deleting your account. Some of your information will be left behind, such as messages sent through Facebook Messenger, and messages that your Facebook user name appeared on.
Posts, photos, profile information status updates will be deleted.
Once you've deleted your Facebook account, it will be deactivated for two weeks, and then deleted, and you won't be able to recover any of your information. There are two ways to delete your account. You can visit Facebook's 'Delete My Account' page, or you can do it manually.
To delete your account:

  • Log in to Facebook
  • Click the drop-down arrow on the toolbar (on mobile, click ☰)
  • Select Settings.
  • Choose Manage Account
  • Choose 'Request account deletion'
  • Follow the directions

Note that if you log in to your Facebook account within the two week deactivation period after you've submitted a request to delete your account, it will cancel the account deletion process. You might also receive a request from Facebook during this time asking if you want to switch from 'Deleting' to 'Deactivating' your account.

To ensure that your account isn't accidentally reactivated, it's a good idea to revoke any permissions that have been granted from websites such as Spotify, revoke other app permissions, and log out of or delete phone and tablet apps such as Facebook Home. If you use Facebook to login to any websites, change your login information (and maybe your password while you're at it).
If you visit a site that asks you to use Facebook to login, choose an alternate method. Most sites that use Facebook as a login will also use Google account credentials or an email address to create an account.
 

If you use Facebook Messenger, it will stay active after you delete your account. You can deactivate Messenger using the directions here. You can deactivate Messenger only if your Facebook account has been deactivated or deleted.

Download Your Personal Information
Before you delete your account, you may want to download your personal data. You can download your information that's archived on Facebook - this includes photos videos, messages, chat conversations, friends names, and possibly their email addresses.
To download your information:

  • Log in to Facebook
  • Click the drop-down arrow on the toolbar (on mobile, click ☰)
  • Select Settings
  • Click General in the left column.
  • Click on "Download a copy of your Facebook data"
  • Wait for a link to your archived data to arrive via email

Update:
These links might be helpful if you want to limit the amount of data that Facebook collects.

Wondering what data, exactly, Facebook collects on it's users? This article is a little out of date but still serves as one of the more comprehensive resources I've found so far.

That's it. :)

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Comments

If the article is correct that even people without Facebook accounts (such as myself) are being profiled, then isn't the exercise of deleting or de-activiating these accounts rather pointless?

That's a good question. I think, at this point in time, that we can only minimize the amount of data being collected about us, whether we are on social media or not. If you have a Facebook account, they can gather quite a bit more data about you than if you don't. Deactivating or deleting an account stops a good bit of the flow of data they use to monetize users of the platform. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Thank you rhiannon, I needed this.

You're welcome. After some thought and research I've updated the article to include a few things that I think are relevant given how this is unfolding. :)