Do you have an old Facebook account that you’re no longer using with posts or pictures from your younger days that you don’t want people to see? It’s easy to delete your account if you still have access to it. But what if you can’t remember the login information?
Here are the two steps you can take to try and recover account access so you can delete your account – and the associated unwanted former memories – permanently.
1. Try to recover your Facebook password
Go to https://www.facebook.com/login/identify to search for your account. You can search by the email or phone number you used to set up the account, or just by name (the search screen doesn’t mention that option but it works, too).
If you go the name route, your account may or may not show up, depending on your privacy settings. If you don’t see it, click “I’m not on this list” and you’ll be prompted to enter the name of a friend and search again.
Once you find your old account, you’ll be able to send a reset code to any of the email addresses or phone numbers you associated with your account. If you’re not sure which email address you used, Facebook will show you a redacted version (e.g., email@example.com) that should spark your memory in case it’s an old email that you don’t log into anymore.
If you don’t have access to that email address or phone number anymore, try hard to regain access to that old email account. Because it gets far bleaker from here…
2. Use Facebook’s Trusted Friends feature
If you can’t access the email address or phone number on your account, your only other hope is Facebook’s Trusted Friends feature. Launched in 2013, Trusted Friends lets you regain access to your account in case of forgotten credentials by asking three “trusted friends” to supply a reset code. The big problem with Trusted Friends is that you had to have set it up in advance for your account, which very few people have done, according to a quick check I did of my friends and other random accounts.
(To set it up for an account you still have access to: 1. Go to Settings (down arrow). 2. Go to your Security and Login Settings. 3. Scroll down to Choose 3 to 5 friends to contact if you get locked out and click Edit. 43. Click Choose friends and follow the on-screen instructions.)
If you fall into the category of one of the lucky few who set this up, when you tell Facebook that you “No longer have access to these?” on the email and phone recovery page you’ll be provided with an option to enter a new email or phone number and continue with the process.
Click “Reveal My Trusted Contacts” and type the full name of one of your trusted contacts. Facebook will then give you a special URL that each of your three friends need to access. The URL contains a recovery code to reset your account, which your friends need to provide back to you. You will need to contact your friends and provide them the URL – Facebook will not do this for you. If you can’t contact one of your trusted friends for whatever reason, you’re out of luck.
As I mentioned above, if you didn’t already set up Trusted Contacts, it’s too late now. When you tell Facebook you can’t access the email account, you won’t have the option to provide a new email address or phone number, you’ll just be told to try logging in again (in other words, you’re outta luck).
3. Report your old account as fake
While Facebook makes deleting an old account difficult, thanks to the proliferation of Facebook account spoofing, deleting a fake account is far easier. So one of our clever readers told us in the comments he reported his old account as fake and it was quickly deleted. Another reader also had success going this route.
To report your old account as fake:
- Go to the profile of your old account
- Click the three little dots on the bottom right of the cover photo and select "Give feedback or report this profile"
- Click on "Pretending to Be Someone" and then click "Me"
Let us know in the comments if this method works for you, too.
4. There is no option four (at least no easy one)
I reached out to Facebook and they have confirmed that, for security reasons, they will only allow you to delete your account if you can access it through one of the two official methods above (or our "unofficial" workaround). Those photos of your ex-relationships, nights of drunken bacchanalia and really, really bad choices of hairstyle are going to live on forever in the Facebook universe.
However, you may be able to pursue avenues outside Facebook’s standard deletion policies. For example, if you reside in the EU, the GDPR provides the right for consumers to demand companies delete their personal information on request. And if Facebook isn’t responding to a request, you may be able to take the issue up with your country’s privacy officer.
ATTN: Privacy Operations
1601 Willow Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Since these aren't officially sanctioned means of getting your account deleted, we don't know what your likelihood of success will be. If you go this route, let us know how you fare in the comments below.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Please do not put requests to have your Facebook account deleted in the comments. We cannot delete your account – you must follow the steps with Facebook we outlined above.
[Image credit: Facebook login via BigStockPhoto]
Help me delete my old Facebook account
From Cherub on October 28, 2018 :: 6:29 pm
I want to delete my old Facebook account, but I’ve forgotten my password. Please help me
My account been taken and
From fredarobertson on December 06, 2018 :: 5:21 pm
My account been taken and the person has controlled it for over two years. Everytime I try to regain it or get a new facebook account he reports it as a fake account. I Can prove who I am Why cant you just help me.
From Josh Kirschner on December 06, 2018 :: 5:59 pm
Go through these steps with Facebook to get your other account recovered or shut down. Let us know if they work. https://www.facebook.com/help/1216349518398524?helpref=hc_global_nav
My account is haked
From Simran soni on June 08, 2019 :: 9:49 pm
Sir my account is hack I am not able to do access in account with mobile no or passward if I’m entering my number it’s shows this no is no longer with us ...I want to deactive this account plz help me my account is with name Simran Akash Soni…...
To re-acquire your old account by entering your information catch 22
From Carol McCullough on August 01, 2019 :: 3:13 am
When asked to re-enter your birth date, they only have a drop down for the year which goes back to 1956. Needless to say this is a problem for anyone born in 1955 or earlier. It seems to me that this is an effort by Facebook to hold onto a lot of accounts where people are deceased or simply are old and have forgotten their password. I suggest there are probably millions of old accounts out there that just help facebook gather more money from advertizers but which no longer represent anyone.
Can you try again?
From Josh Kirschner on August 01, 2019 :: 11:10 am
I’d be surprised the dropdown only goes to 1956. Perhaps it was just a one-time bug. Can you try again and see if you get the same thing? If you can screenshot and post a link, that will help diagnose.
FWIW, Facebook only makes money on ads when people view the ad, so inactive accounts don’t really help them.
I lost my phone number
From Emebat on April 15, 2020 :: 3:21 pm
So I forgot my password please help me delete my account please
I can't delete old fb account
From Minakshi Bhaskar on September 12, 2020 :: 12:37 am
Please help me to delete old fb account.
From Ali on October 27, 2020 :: 6:47 pm
I have two Facebook accounts. I only use one now and I can’t access my old one to delete it. Please help me delete the old one.
From Tseo on May 24, 2021 :: 5:14 am
Sir, feels like my account is hacked so please help me delete my account
Account- zn tseo
It’s been log in by someone else , I can’t log in evn if I try, xo I want to deactivate it please help
Locked out and not wanting to provide my passport to FB
From Em on November 07, 2021 :: 12:34 pm
I’ve been randomly locked out of my FB account and now they want highly sensitive data to reopen my account (basically digital warfare) to reopen my account. I am not prepared to issue this, especially with FB track record. Quite frankly, I’m prepared to live without FB, so I want to close my account down but can’t. I feel like FB have now stolen my identity and the only way to reclaim it is to given them even more personal info like my passport! Surely this is illegal?!
Can anyone help?
My old face book long
From Allan Espano on January 01, 2023 :: 11:23 pm
This is to let you know that the email address
About this change
Sunday, January 1, 2023 at 1:34 AM (UTC+08)
Near Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
this mention email was not me ‘
if you cannot resolved this problem please block and delete my account
Accessing my Accounts
From Joanna Ochoa on September 13, 2019 :: 2:47 pm
Please delete my personal information and update security thanks
have been unable access my
From eric orme on November 16, 2019 :: 5:12 pm
have been unable access my account
Delete my old account
From Amos on June 29, 2020 :: 7:02 am
I forgotten my login and password so I want to delete my old account pls help
Help me to delete permanently this Facebook account please
From Nguyen Thanh Thao on August 15, 2020 :: 7:15 pm
Please help me to delete old fb account
From Malkougu Bali Bey on October 04, 2020 :: 2:38 pm
Hopefully you can delete my old fb account
Afzainizam Adnan because during that time i forgot the Log In ID and the password.
For your information, I already have new
account ” Malkougu Bali Bey”.
From Liliane Roukoz on October 15, 2020 :: 6:57 am
Thank you for everything
From Hasnain baloch on October 16, 2020 :: 8:33 am
Help my old fb I’d not open
And not password
Delete old account
From Tanya Ledoux on May 04, 2020 :: 8:05 pm
I want to delete an old Facebook account and I can’t get into it to do that because it’s under a hotmail email that I don’t remember the password to. How can I fix this???
Delete old Facebook
From Ansie on June 01, 2020 :: 9:44 am
Delete old Facebook
I want to delete my old Facebook account,but I have forgotten my password.
From Muhammad Basharat on June 07, 2021 :: 1:58 am
want to delete an old Facebook account and I can’t get into it to do that because it’s under a hotmail email that I don’t remember the password to. How can I fix this???
delete my page
From lee peace on October 17, 2021 :: 7:09 am
my account was blocked with i dont know why please delete the page Peace290 photography
delete old account
From Vc Bungpadang on March 30, 2022 :: 11:54 am
I want to delete my old Facebook account which can’t remember my username or password n don’t have a access anymore. But I have the new Facebook account which I have same name with the old one.
I forget my password and email address doesn't work .
From Rose Ann Alboro Jang on November 25, 2020 :: 8:43 am
Hi can you help me to delete or close my 2 old facebook account because i can’t open it now i forget my password and email address . Please help me to close it . And i have new one now so i want to delete it my two old facebook acct. This is my two facebook account i want to delete . https://www.facebook.com/roseann.alboro
To delete my old Facebook
From Nooshin on March 10, 2021 :: 5:14 pm
Please help me to delete my old Facebook as Follows:
Thank you in advanced
Facebook account deletion
From Elastol on February 01, 2023 :: 5:22 pm
Hi did you manage to get your old facebook removed?
Hacked my account
From alexandra Brito on February 25, 2022 :: 4:58 am
Please help me to delete my account my friend are hacked too because my account are open and used for others please stopped this urgent