Updated on 2/20/2024 with the current methods you can use to regain access to an old Facebook account. Removed privacy options no longer available.
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 Facebook account if you still have access to it. But what if you can’t remember the login information?
Here are the 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 the Facebook account you are trying to recover is old, try every email and phone number you've owned.
If you go the name route, your account may or may not show up, depending on your privacy settings. And you may have used a nickname or a variation of your name that you don't use anymore, so try a few variations. If you don’t see your account, click “I’m not on this list” and you’ll be prompted to enter the name of a friend and search again. Try a few friends if the first one doesn't work. They may also use a variation of their name.
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. 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 Find support or report on your browser or Report profile in the Facebook app.
- Click on Pretending to Be Someone" and then click Me.
Let us know in the comments if this method works for you, too. It appears to be rather hit-or-miss.
3. There is no option three (at least no easy one)
For security reasons, Facebook will only allow you to delete your account if you can access it through the official method 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.
You can also try sending a snail mail letter to:
Meta Platforms, Inc.
ATTN: Privacy Operations
1 Hacker Way
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Since this isn't an 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.
Bad advice in Facebook Help
In my research, I came across a Facebook help page with a section entitled "Recover your Facebook account from a friend's or family member’s account." The steps don't work. They ultimately send you back to the same page that asks for the phone number or email address associated with your account.
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: Screenshot via Techlicious, laptop mockup via Canva]