Are you considering taking a break from Facebook or deleting your account altogether? While it may not be an option for everyone, tightening up your account settings can help protect your privacy. However, if you’ve had enough and want to delete your Facebook account, here’s how to do it.
First, it’s important to note that Facebook offers two options: deactivation or deletion. Deactivating your account is easy. On the desktop version, click on the menu at the top-right of your screen with your profile picture on it and select Settings & Privacy > Settings. On the left, click Privacy > Your Facebook Information. Scroll down, and you’ll see Deactivation and Deletion at the bottom. If you’re on your iPhone or Android device, tap the menu at lower right, then the gear icon at top, then navigate to Access and Control > Deactivation and deletion.
However, deactivating your account is not the same as leaving Facebook permanently. Your timeline will disappear, you won’t have access to the site or your account, friends can’t post or contact you, and you’ll lose access to all those third-party services that use (or require) Facebook for login. But Facebook does not delete the account, so you’ll be able to reactivate it later. It says so as you deactivate: “This can be temporary.” And you can still use Facebook Messenger.
If you’re sure you want to permanently delete your Facebook account, go to facebook.com/help/delete_account. Just be aware that per the Facebook data use policy, “After you remove information from your profile or delete your account, copies of that information may remain viewable elsewhere to the extent it has been shared with others, it was otherwise distributed pursuant to your privacy settings, or it was copied or stored by other users.” Translation: If you wrote a comment on a friend’s status update or photo, it will remain even after you delete your own profile. Some of your posts and pictures may hang around for as long as 90 days after deletion, as well, though only on Facebook servers—not live on the site.
There is a deletion grace period of 30 days. That means you’ll have a month to come back to Facebook before it really gets rid of your account, in case you change your mind. It’s just one more way Facebook cares.
If you want to delete someone else’s account, unfortunately, you can’t do so without being able to sign into it. However, you can get underage kids kicked off—since Facebook bans kids under 13 to comply with federal law. To notify Facebook about a user under 13, report the account. If Facebook can “reasonably verify” the account belongs to someone who’s underage, it deletes the account instantly, without informing anyone.
For people who are medically incapacitated and unable to use Facebook, there’s a separate form to request the removal of their accounts. For this to work, the requester must prove they are the guardian of the person in question (such as holding power of attorney) as well as provide an official note from a doctor or medical facility that spells out the incapacitation.
When a user has passed away, a legacy contact—a Facebook friend or relative designated by the account owner before they died—can obtain access to the deceased person’s timeline once approved by Facebook. The legacy contact may need to provide a link to an obituary or other documentation such as a death certificate. Facebook can “memorialize” the page, so the deceased’s timeline lives on under the control of the legacy contact. That person can’t post as the deceased but will be able to manage the profile pic and cover photo, manage any tribute posts made by other friends, and handle new friend requests made of the deceased. The page will say “Remembering” above the person’s name.
If the legacy contact prefers, though, they can have the page removed permanently. You can designate a legacy contact person to handle your account after your passing by going to Settings & Privacy > Settings > click on your name > Memorialization Settings. Once you pick a legacy contact (and you can select only one), you’ll get a notification every year from Facebook to double-check that the contact should stay the same.
In conclusion, if you’re ready to delete your Facebook account, follow these steps carefully. And if you need help with any of these processes, don’t hesitate to reach out to Facebook’s customer support team for assistance.