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How to Delete Your Facebook Account Permanently

by on July 25, 2012
in Tips & How-Tos, Computers and Software, Facebook, Privacy, Tech 101, Social Networking :: 30 comments

Ever think about closing your Facebook account? Some people have good reasons for wanting to do so. Maybe it bugs you that the social network seems to be forever making changes to how it operates or doing things such as posting on users’ behalf without giving sufficient notice. Perhaps you don't want to worry about the privacy threat you and your spouse pose when posting. Or maybe you’d like some time back in your life and simply want to spend less time online.

Whatever your reason for ditching Facebook, you should know it’s a relatively easy thing to do. There are two ways to quit—one that’s reversible in case you change your mind, and the other permanent, for those who are certain they want out.

Deactivating Your Account

Deactivating your account puts it on hold and hides your timeline on the site. Facebook doesn’t delete any of your information just in case you want to come back into the fold. I’ve actually used this option in the past and it’s an easy way to take a break from Facebook and then later switch the lights back on. Once you do, everything comes back—your friends, your likes, previous posts and anything else you did at the site.

You should know, however, deactivating your account does not remove your name from your friends’ lists of friends. If it bothers you that your friends might wonder why they’re not seeing your posts, but can still see you as a friend, it might make sense to let them know you’re leaving the network for a while.

If you want to give deactivation a shot, visit https://www.facebook.com/editaccount.php.

Deleting Your Account

Deletion is the other option and it’s only for people who are absolutely sure they’re never coming back to Facebook and don’t mind the idea of starting from scratch in the event they do change their minds.

When you delete your account, Facebook permanently removes it. Facebook says the deletion process typically takes about one month although “some information may remain in backup copies and logs for up to 90 days.”

To delete your account, visit https://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=delete_account.

Keep in mind that messages you’ve sent to other people or posts you’ve shared with groups remain on Facebook even after you delete your account.

Download Your Facebook Data, or Personal Archive

Before permanently deleting your account Facebook recommends that you download a copy of all the data Facebook has on you, what it calls your “personal archive.”

Even if you’re staying on Facebook it’s a good idea—you might be surprised at how much there is.

I’ve only been using Facebook since 2010 and when I downloaded a copy of my account information, Facebook provided me with 46MB worth of data—a list of every message I’ve ever sent someone there, a list of every friend I have on the network, copies of any photo or videos I’ve ever uploaded to the site, and much much more.

It took some time for Facebook to compile all this stuff; in my case, it was over an hour before I received an e-mail from Facebook indicating that my data was ready for download.

Why do you want all your data? For one thing, it’s pretty enlightening to see the vast amount of information you’ve shared on Facebook. I’m only a casual user and probably only check in for a few minutes a week yet somehow I’ve shared an incredible amount of information about myself.

Plus, some of your information might only exist on Facebook. The company points out that “…you may have lost your mobile phone, which contained many photos you took using that phone. If you had uploaded those photos to Facebook, then downloading your information lets you get copies of them back on to your computer.” Indeed, getting such photos back would be handy.

If you do decide to download your personal archive, make sure to store it somewhere safe. It will likely be a huge repository of personal information you likely don’t want to share with others.

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Discussion loading

It is getting boring

From Philip Crawford on July 25, 2012 :: 11:13 am

It getting boring for me because it always breaking down on mobile phone then when you ask for help they always send you too the Help Center or Favorite Ask Question. Last week for 7 days got notifications but could not answer or see photos just got white screen. Can not post profile photo for 8 months can not tag photos got my name wrong on the tag button. Now I am on Twitter Pinterest and Google Plus more than Facebook. To much problems on it

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facebook reads your private messages people, and believe me they do!

From santana norstrom on October 03, 2014 :: 11:34 am

do you like the fact that facebook reads all your personal messages? Don’t think I am right? Well I am and I don’t need to tell you how I know for sure and give facebook an advantage again, so, you better not post anything you do not want read by snoopy fucking asshole facebook employees, I wish they would go belly up and everyone would tell this dumb-assed site to go straight to hell.

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Debit card hacked with over $600 to Facebook - no resonse

From Elaine on July 25, 2012 :: 1:22 pm

My debit card got hacked and I thought the card was cancelled - however I was told it would take 30 day.  Meanwhile over $600 was charged to Facebook and because they do not have good security on their website these charges went through.  No way to talk to anyone and I filed a claim with them 4 days ago and still no response.  I am going to delete my account—they just are worth it.

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Facebook hacked

From Gail on August 05, 2012 :: 12:14 pm

We came home from beach last nite to find 3 police cruisers @ our house..Someone hacked into my fb account and sent msg to a few friends pretending to be me saying that I was being robbed and held @ gunpoint.  I could not be reached by cell at that time so after a while my friend that received one of the msgs called local police.  My fb account is frozen now and I will have to write to them to get it closed.  We hope they catch the sicko that played this cruel joke on my friends.  EVERYONE WATCH YOUR FB ACCOUNT CLOSELY OR YOU COULD BE NEXT !!!!

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hacked my account & password

From soshina shrestha on November 09, 2014 :: 9:20 pm

how get mt account & password

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So how do you...

From Dave on July 27, 2012 :: 1:22 pm

Download Your Facebook Data, or Personal Archive?
Thanks.

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to download facebook data - personal archive

From Teresa Steffens on July 27, 2012 :: 1:57 pm

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Thank you!

From Suzanne Kantra on July 29, 2012 :: 9:05 am

Thank you!

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Link Still Good?

From nvrau on July 27, 2012 :: 7:59 pm

Looks like FB may have caught-on to this post as I cannot get into FB to delete my account. FB is asking me for the last five digits of my drivers license to authorize, which I KNOW I would have NEVER given them when I used to use FB… Doesn’t make me happy to think FB may have an idea of who I am and wants to confirm it.

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facebook lied to you

From robert on July 27, 2012 :: 8:45 pm

i tried to delete my account and all that facebook would do was deactivate it. i tried and tried and they will not. obviously they lied to you because a lot of people read your articles. and maybe if you do it they will probably do it but not for the average person. they do not close accounts it even said that when they deactivated mine. do you actually think that zucker-screwed in the head-berg wants someone who people follow to know that? get real and dont believe everything you read on the internet, especially if it comes from zuckerberg.

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Delete Account Does Work

From Karen on July 27, 2012 :: 9:12 pm

I too had the same problems that those above referred to when trying to delete my account using my mobile phone.  It would not give me the option to delete account, only to deactivate it.

Then I tried the same steps from my desktop pc and the option to delete account was there.

I know pages often display differently on my mobile but I have not been aware that the options also varied on some pages.

Hope this helps others trying to delete their facebook account/s.

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waiting to close it -- if I can

From Elaine on July 27, 2012 :: 10:04 pm

Facebook finally responded to me and told me that they agree that the charges were fraudalent.  I will let you know how long it takes for them to credit my account.  They did say that they even use the security code when they process but I have trouble with that because a legitimate vendor tried to do a recurring charge and they were denied - this was Intuit - the QuickBooks people.  I decided to wait to cancel my account until I get my money back!

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Personal Archive?

From Kate on July 28, 2012 :: 10:33 am

It would have been nice if you included a link or information on how to download your personal archive.

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Added!

From Suzanne Kantra on July 29, 2012 :: 9:03 am

Added!

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What???

From JR on July 28, 2012 :: 10:37 pm

Folks, the link to permanently delete your Facebook account is merely a link to sign in and reactivate your deactivated account.  I think Facebook must pay their minions (these folks), to post such a link, just to reactivate accounts.  That link does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING toward deleting your account.  Don’t fall for it people, like I did.

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The link is correct for

From Suzanne Kantra on July 29, 2012 :: 8:58 am

The link is correct for us. Note that you have to be signed in to Facebook in order to deactivate your account, so if it asking you to sign in, then you’re not signed in.

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Drivers License Confirmation

From nvrau on July 29, 2012 :: 4:44 pm

Suzanne,

Why is FB asking for DL number confirmation when I know I never provided this? How does one get around this?

Cheers!

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Facebook employees trying to jack us

From Robert on July 29, 2012 :: 12:05 pm

as i said i tried to delete my account and it will not allow it. i did it from my pc not a cell phone. and if you sign in to your account to close it after it has been deactivated it will automatically reactivate it. these facebook employees coming on here and trying to bs everybody are being paid to do this in order to get us to reactivate our accounts. it’s to bad there is no requirement for honesty from these companies and their hacks. when i try to delete my account and it straight up tells me that i can not close my account only deactivate it that makes you clearly and ummistakably a facebook employee trying to get me to come back so you can invade my privacy more. how much is zucker-thieving liar-berg paying you to do this? and yes suzanne i am referring to you since you are so adamant about getting people to sign back in to their deactivated account. when a bunch of people try to close their account and the system will not allow it and you go on here and say “oh your all wrong, all you have to do is sign in” when you know that signing in reactivates the account, that makes you a facebook hack who is either come on here for misinformation or just to try to cause problems. instead of trying to mislead us why dont you tell your boss to just allow people who do not trust him and want to close their accounts to close their accounts. or would he fire you for that? you are clearly a facebook employee so just stop and let us have a discussion about your companies dishonesty and quit trying to throw a wrench in the discussion. just remember everybody, anyone who comes into this discussion and is telling you that facebook is not trying to steal your information or will allow you to close your account is nothing more than a facebook hack who is being paid to do this in order to mislead you so just ignore them.

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Hi everyone,I had two Facebook

From Karen on July 29, 2012 :: 9:17 pm

Hi everyone,
I had two Facebook accounts and wanted to delete one of them. As I said earlier, I initially had problems trying to do that, but I did eventually have success.  May I suggest that those of you who are trying to delete a deactivated account, first reactivate your account and log out. Then log back in and use the link below to delete your account. The only information I had to enter to delete my account was my password. A warning message then came up to advise me that it would take about 14 days for my account to be deleted from Facebook and that if I logged back into my account using my email address & password within that 14 days then my account would be reactivated. It was only been a few days so I have not tried to log back in but I am happy to report back after 14 days to let you know if it definitely worked.  I don’t work for Facebook or have any affiliation to them. I am just a public servant. I believe Suzanne has given us information in good faith so let’s not shoot the messenger.

https://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=delete_account

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I'm worried...

From Anita Taco on September 18, 2012 :: 6:43 am

that all it will do is kill my access to my information. I just don’t believe they really delete it from their records. Sure people won’t see it, nor will I be able to access it, but I want to know for sure they truly delete it ALL. Not store it away for later use. Say someone completely deletes, not just deactivates,and then commits a major crime. You can’t convince me they wont pop up with your old page and info for the authorities. Even if it’s a year after deletion. I’m not saying they shouldn’t help solve crimes if the page has relevant info, just using it as an example of them possibly storing it all for good regardless of y.our opting for deletion. Am I uber paranoid or what?

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facebook deletion

From Jeannie on July 31, 2014 :: 2:10 pm

You are NOT paranoid! Mine was supposedly deleted, so WHY does it keep showing up~with NO WAY to contact them by phone~~and my password is ALWAYS WRONG so I CAN’t DELETE IT AGAIN! Seems CRIMINAL ON THE PART OF FACEBOOK and Google keeps SENDING ME BACK TO THE USELESS FACEBOOK PAGE! Counterparts in CRIME?

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very informative

From amaz on December 11, 2012 :: 1:12 am

very informative thanks a ton it helped me deleting my facebook account..t

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Nice tips

From Sujon Paul on February 15, 2013 :: 5:13 am

Thank you so much, it helped me.

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@Anita, I don't think you're

From Eric DeSilva on February 21, 2013 :: 12:17 am

@Anita, I don’t think you’re being paranoid at all. I would assume that they are keeping your information indefinitely. Same precautions with Twitter or any other social media. This is going to be more common as police and enforcement start using Facebook as part of their profiling etc. You might delete your account, but people are fooling themselves if they think they can be malicious and simply disappear. Not going to happen folks.

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Having problem to delete my account

From Mithun Chowdhury on May 10, 2013 :: 1:39 pm

Hi Christina,
I need to delete my facebook account permanently but whenever I click the “delete” button, it never works. I’ve tried holding the control key down and then clicking but it doesn’t work either! Is there any way I can contact an administrator and have them delete my account for me? Or is it just my computer?

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Thanx for all details. all

From Ansh Jain on June 05, 2013 :: 11:33 am

Thanx for all details. all are helpful and in working condition. I hope, your pleasent support will be continue further.
thanx again….. smile

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people should delete their facebook accounts because of what facebook is.

From anon on March 13, 2014 :: 4:29 pm

no it is not their right to collect people’s data as their property. no it is not their right to dominate the market. (nor was it microsoft’s, nor starbucks’s). no it is not their right to abuse people’s trust, pity, benefit of the doubt, self-sacrifice, etc. and raze them down and bury bodies and smile as if nothing is wrong (nor is it commercial banks’s, nor investment bankers’s).  let people/organizations flee affiliation. let class action suits form against them. don’t let it slide because it’s a farce.  get out, move away.

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deactive this account

From ankitasingh on April 08, 2014 :: 8:11 am

deactive this account

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There are alternatives....

From James Clow on June 30, 2014 :: 4:23 pm

There are real community alternatives you know to a lot of things.

Facebook -> friendica
Windows/Mac -> Linux (this opens up sofware alternatives you wouldn’t believe exist)
Self Service Supermarked Kiosk -> Real person
Starbucks/Costa Coffee -> Flask of fairtrade coffee

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Can't totally delete account!

From Pea on October 08, 2014 :: 1:03 pm

I needed to delete my Facebook account 100% because I was regularly being intimidated by some weirdo so I messaged my mates on there to say I was deleting & I cleared absolutely everything - Profile and Cover photos, TimeLine stuff, sections on books I’d added etc. etc. and I couldn’t delete my birthday so I put it as 1 January 1905 and deactivated my account but it seems like it’s not permanently deleted as I still keep getting e-mails saying so-and-so wants to be friends, so-and so added a comment etc.! I don’t want this weirdo tracking and tracing me! Facebook, please take notice of your customers, we’re helping to keep you in a job when we’re registered with you!

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