Everyone needs a break from social media once in awhile. It’s a good idea to do this regularly for your mental, emotional, and physical health. Admit it, you’ve had the desire to walk away from your Facebook account (I know I have). You may have even done it. If this is something you are considering, it’s important for you to realize there are two different ways to do this. One is temporary and the other permanent. So if you want to know how to delete your Facebook account, read on.
The temporary break is called deactivation. This is like putting your account in a deep freeze. When you are ready, you log back in and your account “wakes up” with all the notifications, activity, and noise just like before. Your content and friends are there waiting for you.
The permanent solution is called deleting your account. This wipes out all content (years of photos, videos and comments), page likes, groups, and friend relationships. You will be removed from the service altogether but it may take up to 90 days to delete data from their backup systems. If you ever decide to come back, you’ll have to rebuild.
Which is better?
This isn’t really the right question, I think. Ask yourself, the outcome you are looking to achieve. Do you just need to breathe and get away from the stress? That’s a deactivation. Are you done with Facebook? Before deleting, you’ll want to think about it for a few days.
When deleting, there are a few scenarios where it makes good sense. If you are: physically at risk, attempting to remain hidden from people that are looking for you, drastically changing your lifestyle and communications, or need to go cold turkey with a social media addiction.
I see deactivations mostly for mental breaks but I had a client that was going through a nasty divorce and used this feature. He did it so he wouldn’t see his ex-spouse’s comments, those of their upset friends, and so that he wouldn’t be tempted to sling mud online if he was having a bad day. He safely removed the option and came back about 3 months later. I found his maturity impressive.
Deactivation is easy to find on Facebook but deleting is not. FB doesn’t want to lose you so they make it very difficult. Let me give you instructions for both.
How to Deactivate Your Facebook Account (as of 10/31/18)
- Go to your upper right hand corner of Facebook when logged in
- Click on the arrow
- Choose Settings
- Your Facebook Information > Download Your Information (good idea)
- General > Manage Account > Deactivate Your Account
- When you are ready to return, simply navigate to Facebook and log back in, everything is restored.
How to Delete Your Facebook Account
- See above to learn how to Download a copy of your Facebook data first
- Your Facebook Information > Delete Your Account and Information One option, mobile link https://m.facebook.com/account/delete
Pre Cambridge Analytica, the Delete button was impossible to find inside Facebook. Now they’ve made it easy to find. Should it go missing again, you can always Google the phrase “Delete My Facebook Account” and they’ll get you right to the link.