How to permanently delete Facebook

Many users have grown so concerned about the privacy implications of social media that they have been doing something that would otherwise be unthinkable. They are abandoning their social media platforms, cutting ties with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other services.

For the moment, Facebook seems to be bearing the brunt of the hate, but many of the biggest players follow the same business model. In order to provide their services free of charge, these tech giants carefully track user data, offering that extremely valuable information to marketers so they can serve up targeted ads.

Some social media users find this advertising model completely understandable, accepting it as the cost of using a free service. Others are more troubled by the privacy implications of giving up their data to advertisers. If you find yourself in the second category, you may already be wondering if you should delete your Facebook account and start interacting with your friends the old-fashioned way.

If the answer to that question is yes, you will need to take the right steps to delete your Facebook account. As you might expect, the social media giant does not make it easy for members to leave – they have a vested interest in keeping them onboard. Even so, you can eradicate your Facebook account by following the steps outlined below.

Check Out Your Profile

The first thing you need to do is make sure anything you want to keep, including photos that may not be saved anywhere else, are retained. When you delete your Facebook account, everything that goes with it, including the aforementioned photographs, will be gone forever.

If you have already backed up your photographs, you can continue with the deletion process. If not, you will need to make a pit stop to download your profile for future use.

Here are the steps you need to follow to capture your Facebook profile.

• Log on to your Facebook account
• Click the drop-down menu on the top right-hand corner
• Choose Settings from the menu
• Click the “Download a copy of your Facebook data” option
• Click “Start by archive”

Once you ask for your profile data, Facebook will confirm that request with an email, then another with a link to your profile in .zip file format. Depending on the size of your profile and the amount of data, this process could take quite some time, several hours at least.

Be sure to act quickly when you receive that second email, since the data archive will only be available for a couple of days. If you miss the deadline, you will have to start the process all over again.

Facebook Logons

These days a growing number of apps and websites allow users to log in through their Facebook accounts. This is certainly convenient, but it can also put your privacy at risk.

When you allow an app or website to log you on through Facebook, you also give up some of your data to that site. If you are not comfortable with that, you can cut ties with those apps and log in another way.

Once you have deleted your Facebook profile, you will automatically lose access to the sites that are using that profile as a login. Since you may not remember which apps and websites are using that data, you will need to check for yourself. Just follow these steps to get the information you need.

• Log on to your Facebook account
• Click the drop-down button on the right-hand side
• Choose Settings and choose Apps from the menu
• Go to each identified service and update your login information

This process could also take some time, depending on how many apps you have installed. Take your time and go through each app one by one if you do not want to lose access to sites you use all the time.

Delete Your Account

Once you have recovered your profile data and disconnected your apps, you are ready to delete your Facebook account. When you are ready to cut all ties with Facebook, just go to the Delete My Account page on the site.

Facebook has promised to make account deletion easier in the future, but for now the social media giant still uses a rather cumbersome process. When you access the Delete My Account page, you will be greeted with a page that explains how to reactivate your account, giving you one last chance to change your mind.

Assuming you do not change your mind, you can simply click the Delete My Account option on the page. You will once again be greeted with an enticement to stay, this time in the form of a pop-up window asking if you are sure. To confirm the account deletion, you will need to re-enter your Facebook password and enter text into a Captcha window.

Once you successfully enter the required information, you will see a window confirming that your Facebook account has been successfully deactivated. If you do nothing to reactivate your account, the profile will be permanently deleted in 14 days. Keep in mind, however, that Facebook will have up to 90 days to permanently delete all of your posts from the site. In addition, messages you had previously sent to friends may remain in their inboxes.

Once your Facebook account is gone, you may want to follow up and delete your WhatsApp and Instagram accounts as well. Many users do not realise that these popular social media sites are owned by Facebook, or that they may share some of the most grievous security flaws.

Quitting Facebook can be hard, especially if all your friends are still hanging out there. Even so, if you value your privacy and hate what Facebook has been doing with your data, cutting ties may be well worth the effort and the temporary inconvenience.

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