How to delete Facebook and permanently remove its data
If you’re yearning for a News Feed-free life, we’ve put together a simple guide on how to permanently delete Facebook.
Before we begin, make sure you want to permanently delete your Facebook account, not just temporarily remove it. Following the steps below will lead to complete removal of your Facebook account and all its data, which cannot be undone.
If you just want to take a break without deleting your account, scroll down to learn how to deactivate it instead.
How to permanently delete Facebook
1. Log into Facebook
For security reasons, you will need to log into Facebook in order to delete it. If you’re deleting an account you haven’t used in a while and have forgotten your password, you will need to reset it.
- Go to the Find Your Account Page
- Type the email, phone number, full name or username associated with your account, then click Search
- Follow the step-by-step guide
Full instructions on how to reset your Facebook password can be found here.
2. Download your Facebook data
As this deletion process is permanent, you may wish to save your data first. You can do this by clicking on the down arrow in the top right-hand corner of the screen and selecting Settings.
You will be presented with a list of general account settings. At the bottom is a link to “download a copy of your Facebook data”, where you can do exactly that.
3. Contact Facebook
Facebook doesn’t make it easy to delete your account and has buried the request form deep in its help pages. To make it easier for you, we’ve linked to it here – you will need to be logged in to continue.
A pop-up window should appear which reads: “If you do not think you will use Facebook again and would like your account deleted, we can take care of this for you. Keep in mind that you will not be able to reactivate your account or retrieve any of the content of information you have added. If you would still like your account deleted, click “Delete My Account.”
4. The final step
You will now get a pop-up window warning you, once again, that this is a permanent decision. To permanently delete Facebook, re-enter your password. You will also need to enter a CAPTCHA, then click “OK”.
5. The cooling-off period
Clicking OK on the delete pop-up isn’t quite the end of the process. The previous pop-up will instead be replaced with this message: “Your account has been deactivated from the site and will be permanently deleted within 14 days. If you log into your account within the next 14 days, you will have the option to cancel your request.”
After clicking OK on this message you will have 14 days to change your mind. After that time, your account will be gone forever with no way of reactivating it or retrieving any data you didn’t save. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
To reactivate your account, simply sign back into your account.
How to deactivate Facebook
If you don’t want to permanently delete Facebook you can temporarily deactivate it instead.
- Click the account menu at the top right of any Facebook page
- Select Settings
- Click General in the left column and choose Manage your account.
- Scroll down and you’ll see the Deactivate Facebook option.
- Click the Deactivate Facebook link and follow the on-screen instructions.