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How to Delete an Old Facebook Account When You Can't Log In

by on July 17, 2018
in Tips & How-Tos, Facebook, Privacy :: 14 comments

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., j*******h@hotmail.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.)

Facebook lockout contacts

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. There is no option three (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 methods above. 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.

According to Facebook’s Privacy Policy, disputes can be resolved through a third-party company called TrustArc. However, at the time of publishing this article, Facebook is blocking its own link to the TrustArc feedback form as malicious (irony noted). Instead, you can use Facebook’s Data Policy Help Center Contact form or send a snail mail letter to:

Facebook, Inc.
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.

[Image credit: Facebook login via BigStockPhoto]



Discussion loading

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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

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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.

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Try this

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

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Delete old profile

From Pavan subbaiahacheryiamane on November 19, 2018 :: 1:54 am

Delete old profile

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Hu

From Melissa Clemo on November 21, 2018 :: 7:32 pm

Hi how are u. I’m fine I have so many Facebook account that I wood like to delete but I for got my password to all my old Facebook account so can you please help me out on it thank u from melissa clemo

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I have two accounts I want deleted

From Leighni Hadl on November 28, 2018 :: 5:56 pm

One is under Leighni Hadl and one under Leighni Nikkol I can’t remember the passwords but I need them gone! Please help

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Did you try the options above?

From Josh Kirschner on November 28, 2018 :: 6:15 pm

Did you follow steps 1 and 2 above to try and reset your Facebook password so the accounts can be deleted?

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I don’t know the emails

From Leighni on November 28, 2018 :: 8:20 pm

I can’t get in period. I deleted them the first time it said it would take 14 days but then they never disappeared

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Disabled organization account

From laura levy on December 02, 2018 :: 2:13 pm

i created a new organization/business facebook account but because i uploaded a fake picture (i didn’t want to use my picture for my organization) .. the account has been disabled…

I have deleted the google account associated with the facebook account.

How can i recover/remove the disabled facebook account and start over?

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Have you tried to recover the Google account?

From Josh Kirschner on December 03, 2018 :: 3:42 pm

It may be possible to recover your Google account, which would then let you get access to your linked Facebook account. Here are the steps: https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/6236295

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Disabled organization account

From laura levy on December 03, 2018 :: 7:29 pm

i can’t access the old Facebook acct because it is disabled.. i need to free up the associated email address with the disabled Facebook acct.

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Yes, that's what I'm suggesting

From Josh Kirschner on December 03, 2018 :: 9:17 pm

The link above is a means to recover your old Gmail account so you can use it to recover your old Facebook account.

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Lost access to an old email account

From Leigh Ann McLean on December 08, 2018 :: 4:47 pm

I cant get in an old gmail account, actually 2 of them. I have my uaername to both accounts but I have forgot my passwords to both. I have a new phone now and I cant remember the number I had qhen I opened the account.
Need help
Leigh Ann

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Deleted account

From Tanuja on December 09, 2018 :: 1:45 pm

How to delete my old Facebook account n i forgot my old number so please help me ....

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