There are plenty of reasons to delete your Facebook or Instagram account. Privacy concerns are the most likely reason, but perhaps you’ve realized that only a small percentage of your 500 friends are people you know. Either way, neither platform makes it easy, so we’re going to show you how to delete Facebook from your life forever.
If that seems too drastic for you, we also have a guide to changing your Facebook privacy settings.
Social media has become part of everyday life for many. People are more tuned in to the notification sounds coming from their phones than anything else. Some share their whole lives, from what they ate for breakfast to how cute their dog looks with the latest Snapchat filter (read our best VPN for Snapchat piece). Letting people know about every part of our life has become scarily normal.
In 2018, it was estimated that for every person on Earth, 1.7MB of data was created every second, and that figure just keeps growing. The question is what happens to it.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that Facebook was in the news because the marketing firm Cambridge Analytica mined the data of at least 50 million U.S. voters.
Plus, Facebook has been collecting and using people’s data for years, and its Messenger app was found to be logging calls and texts from Android phone users who had agreed to share their contact list. It’s no surprise that #deletefacebook became a trend.
Instagram isn’t innocent, either, but that’s no surprise considering Facebook bought it in 2012. Because of that, both companies’ data collection methods were consolidated. Instagram’s “download your data” tool, which allows users to make a copy of their information, had a security glitch in which users’ passwords were leaked.
Whatever your reason for wanting to delete your Facebook account or your Instagram account, you don’t want to jump through hoops to do it. Unfortunately, the social media giants make you, though, with the hope that you won’t want the hassle and end up staying. We’ll try to make it easy for you.
It’s best to do it in a browser, especially if you want to download your data first. Plus, you can’t delete your Instagram account through the app. Our step-by-step instructions will help you delete your accounts forever. For more in-depth guides, scroll down.
What to Keep in Mind When Deleting Facebook
You’d think that clicking a “delete” button would wipe your account like it never existed, but that’s not the case. Anything you generated, such as profile information, photos and posts, will be deleted, but anything about you that didn’t come from you will remain.
Let’s say your friend posts an embarrassing picture of you. Well, it’s there to stay because they posted it, not you. Anything that’s not part of your account won’t be deleted. Messages you sent to friends will still be visible to them, as well.
Facebook also says log files are kept after you delete your account, but they don’t have your name attached to them.
If you signed up for other apps with your Facebook account, such as Spotify or Pinterest, you won’t be able to log in to them once your account is deleted. You should sort that out before going ahead.
Lastly, you won’t be able to reactivate your account once it’s deleted, unlike when it’s deactivated.
Deactivating your account just makes it inactive. Your profile won’t be visible, but your photos, videos and other data will be retained. You can still use Messenger, too, unless you deactivate it separately. To reactivate your account, log back in to Facebook or use your account to log in to another service.
Permanently deleting your account means all the photos and videos you’ve ever uploaded, posts you’ve made and anything else you’ve done will be gone forever. You won’t be able to retrieve any of it or use Messenger. Facebook says it can take up to 90 days to delete everything, but it’s still inaccessible to others during the process.
Don’t panic, though, because Facebook allows you to download a copy of your information. There’s also the peace of mind that if you regret your decision, you can cancel your account deletion by logging in to your account within 30 days. After that, you won’t be able to access or reopen your account, even though it may not have completed the process.
How to Permanently Delete Facebook
If you’re ready to delete Facebook from your life, follow the steps below. You can delete your Facebook account from the app, but our guide is for doing so in a browser on a computer, which is best if you want to download your data, too.
First, open Facebook and log in. It doesn’t matter which page you’re on because they all have a down arrow at the top right of the menu bar. Click it to make a drop-down menu will appear. Select “settings” from that menu.
Next, click the tab that says “your Facebook information” in the column on the left.
Now click the section that says “delete your account and information.”
A new window will appear. Facebook warns that once the deletion process begins, you won’t be able to retrieve your account or information. It then gives you two options: deactivate your account instead or download a copy of your information.
The former basically means your account will be dormant until you log in again. It’s a good idea to do the latter if you haven’t already. Facebook will create a file with all your information, including the precious photos you’ve uploaded.
If you’re ready to delete your account, click “delete account.”
Facebook will ask you to re-enter your password. Do that and click “continue.”
After that, Facebook will give you one last warning. If you’re sure you want to delete your account, click “delete account.”
How to Delete Facebook Forever
- Click the down arrow at the top right of any Facebook page and select “settings”
- Select “your Facebook information” from the column on the left
- Click “delete your account and information”
- Click “delete account”
- Enter your password and click “continue”
- Click “delete account”
What to Keep in Mind When Deleting Instagram
When you permanently delete your Instagram account, everything on it will be deleted, too. All your photos, videos, comments and other activities will be removed. Your direct messages will be deleted, as well, and other people will no longer be able to view them.
Once your Instagram account is deleted, there’s no way to reactivate it. Instagram says you can’t sign up with the same username, either. You can disable your account temporarily instead, but that’s not what the aim is here.
There are other ways to backup your Instagram photos, but Instagram lets you make a request to download your data, which it’ll send you as a file via email. It can take up to 48 hours, but we received an email within minutes when we tested it.
How to Permanently Delete Instagram
You can’t delete your Instagram account from the app. It needs to be done in a browser. If you’re ready to ditch that Instagram account, follow the guide below.
First, click here to go to the “delete your account” page and log in. Once you’ve done so, Instagram will give you the option to temporarily disable your account.
Because you want to permanently delete it, it’ll ask why. Select a reason from the drop-down menu. If you want to avoid other information popping up, select “something else.”
A new box will appear where you need to enter your password. Do that and click the red “permanently delete my account” button.
Lastly, a pop-up window will appear asking if you’re sure you want to delete your account. If you are, click “OK.”
How to Delete Instagram Forever
- Go to the “delete your account” page and log in
- Select your reason for deleting your account from the drop-down box
- Re-enter your password
- Click the red “permanently delete my account” button
- When it asks if you’re sure, click “OK”
We hope this guide has helped you understand how to permanently delete your Facebook or Instagram account. Though social media is a great way to keep in contact with distant friends and family, it’s also a great way for companies to gather personal information. Not having an account is the only way to make sure your information is protected for certain.
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Before deleting your accounts, though, remember to get a copy of your information to retrieve your precious photos. Facebook has a 30-day period in which you can cancel the deletion, but Instagram doesn’t so make sure you’ve got the information you want before proceeding.
If there’s anything we’ve missed or you have tips for preparing to delete a social media account, let us know in the comments section. Take a look at our other security articles, too. Thank you for reading.