How to Permanently Delete Facebook and Recover Your Data

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Matthew M. White
@matthewmwhite
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Facebook was, at one time, a great platform where friends and family could reconnect, stay in touch, and share their adventures with others. In today's hyper-politicized culture, many Facebook users have taken the social media platform to another, less enjoyable dimension.

Along with the negativity and ever-escalating information overload, many users are beginning to question their online privacy and security. Facebook is no stranger to controversy, as seen with the Cambridge Analytica disaster.



If you're looking to permanently delete your Facebook account and all the data the company has about you, this article will help!

How to Temporarily Disable Facebook

Some users have had their Facebook account for a long time. That's a lot of memories, friends, memes, and other important information to say goodbye to. If you are worried that you will miss your account or need it later, you can temporarily deactivate your account.

  1. Click the account menu at the top right of any Facebook page.
  2. Select "Settings and privacy", then "Settings" again.
  3. Click on "Your Facebook information" in the left menu.
  4. Next to "Deactivation and deletion", click on "View".
  5. Make sure "Deactivate Account" is checked, then click "Continue to Account Deactivation".

If you deactivate your account, your profile will no longer be visible. You will no longer appear in your friend lists and people will no longer be able to search for you. But, your Facebook Messenger account will remain intact.


To reactivate an account at any time, you can log back into your account on any device. If you don't want to accidentally reactivate your account, you'll need to log out of all devices, including the mobile app.


Facebook Privacy Control

If your problem with Facebook comes from a privacy perspective, there are things you can do to control what information the company shares with other companies.

In addition to disabling location permissions and browsing incognito on the social media site, Facebook grants users some power over their data within the website.

If you want more control over your privacy on Facebook, follow these steps:

  1. Follow the steps above by clicking the arrow icon in the upper right corner. Next, click on “Settings and privacy”.
  2. Click on “Privacy shortcuts”.
  3. Click on “Manage your information”.
  4. A new web page will open. Here you can follow the path 'Facebook' > 'I want to manage my data'.

Some of the options only give you links to instructions or Facebook's privacy policy. But others allow you to control connected apps, ad preferences, and sharing of information the company stores/shares.

To help protect your data online without deleting Facebook, Adblock Plus has a tool that allows you to disable embedded social media (Like) buttons on sites outside of the social network. These buttons allow Facebook to track users' browsing behavior beyond Facebook, and this data may be open to advertisers.


How to permanently delete Facebook

There are several ways to access the "Delete your account" button. First, you can follow the steps above to deactivate your account and select the "Delete Account" option.


You can also follow the steps in the "Control Facebook Privacy" section and select the Delete Account option at the bottom of the page. But, if you need more help, here are more specific instructions:

1. Connect to Facebook

For security reasons, you will need to log in to delete your Facebook account. If you delete an account that you have not used for some time and you have forgotten your password; you will need to reset it.

  1. Go to the Find your account page.
  2. Enter the email, phone number, full name, or username associated with your account, then click "Search."
  3. Follow the guide step by step.
  4. If you can't get a verification code, click the You no longer have access to it? at the bottom of the pop-up window. Then follow the steps to recover your login information.

Full instructions on how to reset your Facebook password can be found here.

2. Download your Facebook data

As you are looking to permanently delete Facebook, you may want to save your data first. You can do this by clicking the down arrow in the upper right corner of the screen and selecting Settings.

A list of general account settings will be displayed. At the bottom is a link to "download a copy of your Facebook data", where you can do just that.


Notes: It is important to do this before deleting your account. Once your account is deleted, you will need to reactivate it to download your Facebook data. After a retention period of 30 days, your Facebook data disappears forever.


3. Permanently deactivate your Facebook account

Now that you've logged into your Facebook account and saved all your data, it's time to deactivate your account. Here's what to do:

  1. Open Facebook and click the arrow icon in the upper right corner. Next, click on “Settings and privacy”.
  2. Click on “Settings” again.
  3. Click "Your Facebook Information" on the left side.
  4. Click on “View” next to “Deactivation and deletion”.
  5. Click the bubble next to "Delete." Then, click "Continue to Account Deactivation".

A pop-up should appear: "If you think you won't be using Facebook again and want to delete your account, we can take care of that for you. Remember that you cannot reactivate your account or recover any content or information you added. If you still want to delete your account, click on “Delete my account”.

You will now get a pop-up warning you, once again, that this is a permanent decision. To permanently delete Facebook, re-enter your password. You will also need to enter a CAPTCHA, then click “OK”.

4. The reflection period

Clicking OK on the deletion pop-up window isn't quite the end of the process. The previous pop-up will be replaced by this message: “Your account has been deactivated from the site and will be permanently deleted within 30 days. If you log into your account within the next 30 days, you will have the option to cancel your request.

After clicking OK on this message, you will have 30 days to change your mind. After this time, your account will disappear forever with no way to turn it back on or recover any data you didn't save.

To reactivate your account, log back into your account.

Frequently Asked Questions

Permanently deleting your Facebook account is a big deal. That's why we've included this section to make sure you can make an informed decision before clicking the "Remove" button.

How long does Facebook retain my information after my account is deleted?

Facebook's official word on the matter is that they retain your information for 30 days after confirming account deletion.

Is Facebook safe?

Although the website is quite secure if you have a strong password and two-factor authentication setup, Facebook is not necessarily secure.

The website/app has a few issues that open you up to unknown threats (just like almost everything else on the internet). If you've ever read any of our online security guides for other services, you'll no doubt be familiar with the philosophy that your accounts are only as secure as you created them. This means that much of your security is in your hands, regardless of the brilliant privacy policies included by the developers.

First, Facebook is less secure because the company shares your information with other companies. Although Facebook does not make this information public, the other company may have security vulnerabilities that make it easier to access your personal data. This includes information about your location, devices, and more.

Then oversharing can become a serious problem. Maybe your friend is sharing that you're at a local restaurant or posting a photo with your child's school in the background. Be mindful of everything you post on Facebook (including behind your photos) to reduce the likelihood of someone knowing something about you that you'd rather keep private.

How to delete Facebook Messenger?

As stated above, when you delete your Facebook account, your Facebook Messenger account remains. To delete your Messenger account, follow these steps:

1. Open Facebook Messenger and tap your profile icon in the top right menu to access the drop-down options.

2. Click on “Legal and policies”.

3. Click on “Disable Messenger”.

4. Enter your password.

5. Click 'Disable.'

How do I delete my Facebook account if I can't log in?

If for some reason you can't log into your Facebook account, the first step will be to try and reset your password and gain access. The best case scenario in this situation is that you can log in and follow the steps above.

However, if your account has been hacked or hacked, you can regain access by reporting your own account to the Facebook support team. Visit this website to complete the necessary steps to report your account. Once logged in, you can follow the steps above to permanently delete your account.

Are you planning to permanently delete your Facebook account? Did our tutorial help you achieve your goals? Let us know in the comments below!

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