How To Permanently Delete A Facebook Account
Here is the shortcut link to the official Facebook account deletion page.
Read the step-by-step guide:
This guide will take you through a smooth and successful Facebook account deletion.
- Log in to Facebook.
- Backup your Facebook data if required.
The Account Deletion Process
A two week ‘deactivation’ period is enforced once you initiate permanent account deletion.
(Deactivation And Deletion Are Very Different
Deactivation hides your account, but your data is preserved in case you wish to return.
Deletion destroys your Facebook data. As a result you cannot recover it.
You can always backup your data then delete your account.
Here is Facebook’s summary of the differences.
A deactivated account allows Facebook to keep your data. You are not adding to it, but it is still valuable to advertisers.
As a result, Facebook encourages account deactivation as opposed to full deletion of your data.)
Logging in to your account during this time will cancel the deletion request.
To prevent this happening by accident,
- Revoke app permissions e.g. Spotify. (Delete Facebook Apps, Revoke Permissions. When deleting your account, consider the apps that you’ve linked to your Facebook account. If one of them logs you in to Facebook it will cancel the account deletion process. Revoke app permissions via Facebook’s App Settings. Turn off Facebook integration (if present) on your phone or tablet. Delete or log out of the Facebook app if you use it on your phone or tablet. Disable Facebook ‘Home,’ Facebook Messenger and associated apps. Disconnect Facebook from apps like Spotify. Data Shared With Apps
When you delete your Facebook account this will not delete data that has been shared with apps.
‘When you use an application, the application may ask for your permission to access your content and information as well as content and information that others have shared with you. We require applications to respect your privacy, and your agreement with that application will control how the application can use, store, and transfer that content and information.’ — Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (Facebook))
- Log out of or delete phone and tablet apps, including Facebook Home. (Facebook Home is a home screen replacement and launcher for Android devices linked with an associated suite of apps, notably Facebook Messenger.
Logging in to Facebook will cancel an account deletion request. So, it makes sense to delete these apps and switch to the Android launcher of your choice when deleting your account.)
- Be wary of websites that allow you to login using Facebook.
- Lock down all privacy settings in case of accidental reactivation.
- Change your password before deletion to reduce automatic login issues.
Do not be fooled into switching from a deletion request to a deactivation request. Facebook employs a few tricks to encourage this. Remember, deactivation is not deletion.
‘It typically takes about one month to delete an account, but some information may remain in backup copies and logs for up to 90 days.’ (Facebook Data Use Policy).
Delete Sensitive Data
Facebook will delete your data upon account deletion, but shared data may remain.
- Delete any embarrassing pages, posts, messages and photos.
- Contact friends about shared content that you would like deleted.
Groups & Pages
If something important is organized primarily through a Facebook group, be sure to arrange alternative means of staying up to date.
It is important to remember that friends may still think you are on Facebook. They may attempt to invite you to events and send you messages.
Consider an account deletion epitaph to explain the situation, including alternative means of communication. This will avoid any confusion.
Ready To Delete Your Account?
- Go directly to the official account deletion page.
- Enter password, captcha security check etc.
Further Reactivation Traps
Facebook wants to keep you, your data is valuable.
You may be encouraged to cancel your deletion request or switch to a deactivated account. Ignore these messages.
Ignore any guilt trip stages of the deletion process. Things like your friends ‘missing you’ and notifications of activity you are missing.
A deceased member’s account can be memorialized or deleted.
It is Facebook’s policy to memorialize the account of a deceased person.
To report a timeline to be memorialized, you can fill out a ‘Memorialization Request’.
Verified immediate family members can request the removal of a loved one’s account.
This involves filling out a ‘Special Request for Deceased Person’s Account’ form.
Your account will be ‘deactivated’ for two weeks. After this period it will be permanently deleted.
Do not login to your account during this time. It will cancel the deletion request.
Do not be fooled into switching to a deactivation request. Deactivation is NOT deletion.
Consider an account deletion epitaph to notify friends of your departure.
What Happens To Your Data?
In theory, deleting your account immediately removes all Facebook data related to you. In reality it’s more complicated, taking about 90 days.
(If you delete a message to a friend, the message will remain in their inbox.
Maintaining these data relationships makes deletion difficult. Even data tagged for deletion can still take 90 days to be deleted.
‘It typically takes about one month to delete an account, but some information may remain in backup copies and logs for up to 90 days.’ — Facebook Data Use Policy.
Keep in mind that Facebook’s value involves retaining as much social data as possible. Instant data removal is not the priority.
‘For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.’ — Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.)
Allegations of complicity with National Security Agency surveillance suggest that your data may never truly be deleted.
Leaving Social Data Behind
As hard as you try, some personally identifiable information may remain. This could be something as simple as your name on a message.
You have little control over this or what others share about you in future. The most you can realistically do is ask your friends to respect your privacy.
Data shared with apps and advertisers is with them forever. As a Facebook user you are leaving behind a valuable personal data footprint.
Facebook can track non-users via the ‘like’ button and other similar means. You can minimize this and protect your privacy from Facebook and others.
Facebook owns WhatsApp, Instagram, Oculus and can share data between these and its own products e.g. Facebook Messenger. Keep this in mind when using their apps.