How to Permanently Delete Your Facebook Account in 2020

By Jayden Andrews. March 9, 2020

The Cambridge Analytica scandal in March 2018 has put Facebook under a lot of pressure, not just because of the investigation where Mark Zuckerberg was in the hot seat, but also because of the growing distrust among the users. The Cambridge Analytica scandal has affected the lives of the millions of Facebook users whose personal data were harvested for political purposes.

This month marks the second anniversary of that huge privacy scandal involving the social media giant, but nothing much has changed except for Mark Zuckerberg’s promises to improve the platform’s security features and the 3,000-word treatise on Facebook’s new, privacy-focused future.

But Facebook’s dilemma regarding online privacy does not stop there. Aside from that shocking Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has also been subjected to investigations by eight state attorneys general from New York, North Carolina, Colorado, Florida, Nebraska, Iowa, Ohio, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C. for antitrust reasons. In November 2019, California disclosed its own Facebook probe regarding the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Because of these privacy issues, a lot of people are staying away from using the social media platform, while others are outright deleting or deactivating their Facebook accounts.

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The #DeleteFacebook Movement

As Facebook continues to be embroiled in these antitrust investigations, social media users are becoming paranoid about having their personal data stolen or their accounts being hacked. And in the midst of all these scandals, the #DeleteFacebook movement grew in popularity.

The #DeleteFacebook campaign gave voice to the world’s concern over the lack of privacy in digital environments, particularly social media. The movement also articulated the outrage of a public that believes that its needs are secretly superseded by financial goals.

The support of some celebrities and famous people has also contributed a lot to the widespread adoption of the movement. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, actor and comedian Will Ferrell, journalist Kasie Hunt, actress and comedian Rosie O’Donnell, actor and comedian Jim Carrey, writer Jessica Valenti, Bollywood actor Farhan Akhtar, and even Brian Acton, the former Facebook executive who co-founded the WhatsApp messaging app, showed support to the movement.

According to an April 2018 survey, about one in 10 Americans say that they deleted their Facebook accounts because of privacy concerns and 35% percent said that they were using Facebook less than they used to. This study was conducted a month after the Cambridge Analytica scandal and showed the growing sentiment of the public about online security and the safety of their personal data.

Although the movement has lost some momentum over the years, this doesn’t mean that people are no longer concerned about their online privacy. In fact, a lot of users are still considering deleting their Facebook accounts until today.

Why Delete Your Facebook Account?

The main reason why Facebook users delete their accounts is because of privacy concerns. Facebook is a complete digital representation of the users’ lives. It has information about the complete name, email address, birthday, contacts, physical address, family members, schools graduated from and degree achieved, jobs and companies associated with, phone number, likes and interests, buying behavior, and even your favorite movies. Facebook knows everything about you, which is very creepy.

Aside from those who are concerned about their privacy, there are also users who are simply tired of seeing all the negativities on social media and want to cut off these unnecessary attention hoggers. Some users just want to take a break and don’t want to be completely free of social media’s influence. In short, they just want some time-out.

Deactivating vs Deleting Facebook

Before you decide that you want to get rid of your Facebook account, it is important to understand your options. Deactivating your Facebook account is not the same as deleting it. We’ll walk you through the major differences between these options so you can confidently decide what you want to do with your Facebook account.

You can either deactivate your Facebook profile or completely delete it from existence. As the name suggests, the first option disables your account while keeping your data on the social media platform, while the second option erases everything about you.

These are the things that will happen when you deactivate your Facebook account:

  • Nobody will be able to see your profile except you.
  • Some information, such as sent messages and old comments, will remain visible.
  • Your name will still show up on your friends’ lists, but not outside your group of friends.
  • Your name, previous posts, and old comments will remain visible to the admins of the groups you’ve joined.
  • You can still use Messenger.
  • You can keep your account deactivated for as long as you’d like, but it will be reactivated once you log back in or if you use the account to log into a connected app.

These are the things that will happen when you choose to permanently delete your Facebook account:

  • You will never be able to reactivate your account. It is permanent and irreversible.
  • Everything that you’ve added, uploaded, or posted on Facebook will be gone forever. There’s no way for you to retrieve it unless you’ve downloaded a copy of your data beforehand.
  • You won’t be able to use your Facebook account to log in to connected apps anymore.
  • Some information, such as messages you’ve previously sent to your friends, will still remain visible to them.
  • Some data, such as log records, will be kept in the database, but your personal identifiers will be removed.
  • You will no longer be able to use Messenger.
  • Once you have initiated the deletion of your account, you have 30 days to think about it and finalize your decision. If you changed your mind within that 30-day period, you can cancel the deletion process and get everything back. However, when that period expires, your account and all information related to it will disappear forever.

The deletion of your Facebook account is not a one-day process. It may take up to 90 days for all your data to be permanently deleted, but you still won’t have access to it during that period.

How to Deactivate Your Facebook Account

If you want to take a break from Facebook but are not quite ready yet to delete everything, deactivating your account will give you the breather that you need. This will give you the time to get used to having no Facebook so you can decide whether you want to proceed to be completely Facebook-free or you can’t live without it.

Keep in mind that deactivating your account means that all of your information will remain available to Facebook, and you may still end up as an unknowing victim of data harvesting or a data breach.

To temporarily deactivate your Facebook account, follow the steps below.

1. Log into your Facebook account.

2. Click the upside-down triangle or downward arrow located in the top-right corner of your Facebook page.

3. Go to Settings, then click General in the left-side column.

4. Click Your Facebook Information > Deactivation and Deletion.

5. Choose Deactivate Your Account and follow the on-screen instructions to confirm your choice.

6. Type in your password when prompted, then click Continue.

Your Facebook account should now be deactivated. If you want to reactivate your account, just log into Facebook or an app/service that uses Facebook login. You will be asked to type in your password, then your profile will be fully restored.

How to Delete Your Facebook Account

If you’ve decided that you’re done with Facebook and its crazy News Feeds, then deleting your account should be the best choice for you. But before you do that, you might want to download a copy of all the information on your Facebook account in case you want to have a copy of your old photos or some of your old posts.

To download an archive of your Facebook data, follow the instructions here:

1. Log into your Facebook account.

2. Click the upside-down triangle or downward arrow located in the top-right corner of your Facebook page.

3. Go to Settings > Your Facebook Information.

4. Click View beside the Download Your Information section.

5. Add or remove categories of information from your request by checking or unchecking the boxes on the list.

6. Select your preferred format for your download, the quality of the photos and videos, and the date range of your download request.

7. Click Create File to confirm your action.

8. You will receive a notification that your download request is being prepared.

9. Navigate back to the Download Your Information page again (Settings > Your Facebook Information > View).

10. Click on the Download button.

11. Re-enter your password to begin downloading.

 

Once you have a copy of all your Facebook data and you’re definitely ready to move on, you can permanently delete your Facebook account using the following steps:

1. Go to your Facebook settings page by clicking the inverted arrow located in the top-right corner of your Facebook account.

2. On the left menu, you will see a list of settings available.

3. Click Your Facebook Information > Deactivation and Deletion.

4. Alternatively, you can go directly to the Delete Your Account page using this link.

5. A page will pop up with suggestions for deactivating your Messenger or downloading your information.

6. If you want to keep your Messenger, you can select Deactivate instead.

7. If you have not created an archive of your Facebook data, you can click the Download Info button.

8. But if you are not interested in either of these options, click on the Delete Account button at the bottom of the window.

9. You will be asked to enter your password. Type it in, then click Continue.

The deletion process will now be initiated, and you have 30 days to change your mind. After that, it’s goodbye to Facebook forever.

How to Protect Your Online Privacy on Social Media

If you can’t give up social media but are concerned about your privacy whenever you use these platforms, especially Facebook, it is important to implement some measures to keep your data and activities protected.

The best way to protect your online privacy on social media networks is by using the best VPN. Forget about free VPNs because you’ll probably end up putting yourself at risk instead. Invest in a good VPN that uses strong encryption technology and has a solid line of security features. If you’re having trouble deciding which VPN is perfect for you, you can read VPN reviews or comparison websites for more information.

Here are other online security tips you should keep in mind:

  • Do not fill out sensitive information on your social media profile. Keep your profile as vague as possible, just enough for your contacts to know it’s you.
  • Don’t add or communicate with people you do not know. Social media might be about being social, but that doesn’t mean you have to add people you do not know.
  • Turn on private browsing to delete cookies, temporary Internet files, and browsing history the moment you close the window.
  • Don’t connect your Facebook account to your other social media profiles. In case your Facebook account got compromised, at least your other accounts are safe. It also makes retrieval a lot easier.
  • Don’t click on links on your News Feed randomly. Check the source of the link to verify its legitimacy.
  • Use Facebook’s privacy settings.

Social media are meant for connecting with friends, family members, and workmates, but that doesn’t mean you have to share everything and connect with everyone. Choose who you engage with and what you post, and use good security software to keep yourself and your data protected in the World Wide Web.

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