Home How To How to Delete Your Facebook Account

How to Delete Your Facebook Account

by George Mensah

Recent events, or simply the state of social media in general, may have you considering a break from Facebook. If that isn’t an option for you, tighten up your account settings.

But if the social network irritates you, if you’ve had enough and can’t take it any longer, there are ways to get out. Here’s how to uninstall Facebook.

Deactivating Facebook

You have two options on Facebook: deactivate or delete.

The first could not be simpler. On the desktop, select Settings & Privacy > Settings from the menu at the top-right of your screen with your profile picture. On the left, click Your Facebook Information. Scroll down to the bottom to see Deactivation and Deletion. (To use while logged in, use this direct link(Opens in a new window).)

Tap the three-line hamburger menu on your iPhone or Android device, then go to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Personal and Account Information > Account ownership and Control > Deactivation and deletion.

Facebook will go to any length to keep you around, including emotional blackmail about how much your friends will miss you.

“Deactivation” is not the same as “unsubscribing” from Facebook. Yes, your timeline will vanish, you will no longer be able to access the site or your account via mobile apps, friends will be unable to post or contact you, and you will lose access to all third-party services that use (or require) Facebook login. However, the account is not deleted by Facebook. Why? So you can reactivate it later (Opens in a new window). “This may be temporary,” it says right there as you deactivate.

If the anticipated re-activation does not occur, download a copy of all your Facebook data—posts, photos, videos, chats, and so on—from the menu for Settings & Privacy > Settings > Your Facebook Information > View > Download Your Information What you discover may surprise you.

How to Permanently Delete Facebook

To permanently delete your Facebook account, go to facebook.com/help/delete account (Opens in a new window). Just keep in mind that “after you remove information from your profile or delete your account, copies of that information may remain viewable elsewhere to the extent it has been shared with others, it was otherwise distributed pursuant to your privacy settings, or it was copied or stored by other users,” according to the Facebook data use policy(Opens in a new window).

In other words, if you leave a comment on a friend’s status update or photo, it will remain even if you delete your own profile. Some of your posts and photos may also remain on Facebook servers for up to 90 days after deletion, though only on Facebook servers, not live on the site.

There is a 30-day deletion grace period. That means you have a month before Facebook permanently deletes your account, just in case you change your mind. It’s just another way Facebook shows its concern.

Delete or Memorialize for Others

You can’t delete someone else’s account unless you can sign in as them. However, you have the ability to get others kicked off. Underage children in particular, because Facebook prohibits children under the age of 13 in order to comply with federal law (Opens in a new window).

To notify Facebook about a user under the age of 13, report the account(Opens in a new window). If Facebook can “reasonably verify” that the account is being used by someone under the age of 18, it will delete the account immediately and without informing anyone.

There is a separate form to request account removal for people who are medically incapacitated and thus unable to use Facebook. To make this work, the requester must demonstrate that they are the guardian of the person in question (via power of attorney) as well as provide an official note from a doctor or medical facility stating the incapacity. Redact any information required to maintain privacy, such as medical account numbers, addresses, and so on.

Once approved by Facebook, a legacy contact(Opens in a new window)—a Facebook friend or relative designated by the account owner before they died—can gain access to that person’s timeline. A link to an obituary or other documentation, such as a death certificate, may be required by the legacy contact. The page will be “memorialized” by Facebook(Opens in a new window) so that the deceased’s timeline lives on under the control of the legacy contact. That person will not be able to post as the deceased, but will be able to manage the profile photo and cover photo, any tribute posts made by other friends, and any new friend requests made of the deceased. Above the person’s name, the page will say “Remembering.”

By going to Settings & Privacy > Settings > General >Memorialization Settings, you can designate a specific legacy contact person to handle your account after your death. Enter a friend’s name to find their Facebook profile, then click Add; finally, click Send to notify the person. (You can also remove or change the legacy contact from this page.)


Once you’ve selected a legacy contact (and you can only have one), Facebook will send you an annual reminder to double-check that the contact should remain the same.

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