Facebook has over 2 billion active monthly users, making it one of the most popular social media platforms worldwide. However, some users eventually decide they want to delete their Facebook accounts due to privacy concerns, too much wasted time, or other reasons.
Deleting your Facebook account is a relatively straightforward process, but there are some key steps you need to take in order to ensure your data is properly removed. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about how to permanently delete a Facebook account.
Why You May Want to Delete Your Facebook Account
Here are some of the most common motivations for deleting a Facebook account:
Privacy and Data Concerns
Facebook has faced scrutiny over how it handles user data, with major data privacy scandals like Cambridge Analytica undermining trust in the platform. Deleting your account is the only way to ensure Facebook no longer has access to your personal information.
Too Much Wasted Time
Many users find themselves endlessly scrolling through their feeds without value. Leaving Facebook can help reclaim time to focus on more fulfilling goals and activities.
Too Much Comparison Pressure
Seeing curated highlights from other people’s lives can lead to negative social comparison, especially around things like relationships, family, and career success. This can hurt self-esteem and mental health.
polarizing Content and Discussions
Facebook’s algorithm tends to surface polarizing political and social discussions that raise stress and even damage personal relationships. Deleting provides relief from inflammatory posts.
Addictive Nature Of The Platform
Through tactics like variable rewards schedules, Facebook keeps users constantly checking back in. For some, this addictive quality interferes with work and personal life.
If the cons of being on Facebook now outweigh the pros in your view, deleting your account may be the right personal choice.
How to Delete Your Facebook Account
Deleting your account completely removes all information associated with it from Facebook. Here is the full step-by-step process:
Back Up Your Facebook Data
Before deleting your account, you may want to download a copy of your Facebook data for your own records. Here’s how:
- Click the down arrow at the top right of any Facebook page and select “Settings & Privacy.”
- On the left menu, click “Settings.”
- Click “Your Facebook Information” in the menu at the top.
- Select “Download Your Information” and choose what data types you want to download (photos, posts, profile info, etc.)
- Enter your password when prompted to confirm your identity.
- Facebook will prepare an archive of your data and notify you via email when it’s ready to download (may take several hours or days depending on amount of data).
Be sure to download and back up your data before moving ahead with account deletion.
Submit Your Account Deletion Request
To permanently delete your account:
- Click the down arrow at the top right and select “Help & Support” in the menu.
- Click “Delete Account” in the left sidebar.
- Select “Delete My Account” on the Account Deletion page.
- Facebook will now ask you for confirmation:
- Click “Continue to Account Deletion” to proceed.
- To retain your account, select “Cancel Deletion.”
- Enter your password and complete the security check when prompted.
- Click the “Continue” button to submit your account deletion request.
Once you complete these steps, your account will be scheduled for deletion.
Wait 14 Days for Account Deletion to Finalize
Facebook does not instantly delete accounts in case users change their minds. There is a 14-day grace period before it carries out permanent deletion:
- During this waiting period, your profile and data will remain deactivated and inaccessible to other users.
- You can still cancel and reactivate your account within 14 days by logging back in with your credentials.
- After 14 days have elapsed, Facebook will automatically and permanently erase all account data, profiles, photos, posts, and interactions. This cannot be undone.
Be patient as you wait out the 14-day period before final deletion. Avoid logging in, or the deletion may be canceled.
Once 2 weeks have passed, you can rest assured knowing your account has been completely wiped from Facebook’s systems. You are free from the platform!
What Exactly Gets Deleted from Facebook?
When you delete your Facebook account, all data associated with it gets erased from company servers. Here are some examples of what gets permanently removed:
- Your profile info (bio, photos, cover images, etc.)
- Your posts, likes, comments, and reactions made over the years
- Photos and videos you uploaded
- Groups and events you created or managed
- Your messaging history and Facebook contacts
- Games, apps, and webpages connected to your account
- Payments information if you used Facebook Pay
- Location data and search history tracked by Facebook
In essence, any trace of your presence within their systems is gone. It’s as if you never had an account at all after deletion completes.
What Data, If Any, Might Facebook Retain?
Facebook claims to delete all information from your account once the 14-day waiting period finishes.
However, there is an exception for data other users have shared about you:
- For instance, if friends have tagged you in their photos or posts, those interactions remain intact since they belong to your connections’ accounts rather than your deleted profile.
- While Facebook says it removes your identifying tag from that content, they still analyze it to inform the activity of the user who created that post or photo.
Beyond this type of data, Facebook states it wipes all personal information associated directly with your account. Independent audits have confirmed the company follows through on account deletion requests.
Of course, Facebook may still hold broader analytics about usage patterns they discerned while your account was still active. But legally and contractually, they should not retain identifiable data linked to your specific profile anymore.
Can You Retrieve Data from a Deleted Facebook Account?
No, when an account gets deleted from Facebook (after 14 days have passed), both the profile and all associated data get permanently erased from their systems.
There is no way to recover or regain access to any of that information again. Poof, gone!
This is why it’s so important to download your personal Facebook data for backup before initiating the deletion process. The downloadable archive file allows you to preserve your data even after your account ceases to exist.
So if you think you may ever want your Facebook messages, photos, or other account details back for personal records, be sure to create that archive with Facebook’s tools before your 14-day deletion countdown finishes.
Can You Reactivate a Facebook Account After Deleting?
If you change your mind shortly after submitting the deletion request, yes – you can reverse course and cancel the deletion process to reactivate your account intact.
But only within 14 days of initiating the deletion.
Here is what to do:
- Log back into your account within 14 days using your prior credentials.
- When prompted with a confirmation notice, select cancel deletion to stop the process.
- Facebook will then restore full access to your previously deactivated profile and data. It will be as if you never requested removal in the first place!
However, after 14 days have elapsed, Facebook renders all account data inaccessible even to internal employees. No one can retrieve the deleted information to set up your account again.
So in short — yes for 14 days, but after two weeks pass, there is no way to revive a terminated Facebook profile ever again.
Can You Create a New Facebook Account After Deleting?
Interestingly, Facebook does allow you to open a brand new account even if you had an old one deleted.
You can sign up fresh using different credentials as if you’re joining for the first time. Just don’t attempt to impersonate anyone else, which violates their terms.
Of course, none of your old friends, photos, conversations, or follows will carry over to this new profile. You have to start building up your presence on Facebook from scratch again.
Before creating a new account post-deletion, think carefully about what problems motivated you to quit Facebook originally. Otherwise, you may easily slip back into old habits and feel frustrated once more.
But if you deleted your account hastily in a moment of impulse, having the option to start fresh down the line gives you flexibility. Just be conscious in re-engaging.
Common Concerns and Questions about Facebook Account Deletion
Here we address some frequently asked questions people have about the process of deleting their Facebook accounts:
Will Facebook notify my friends if I delete my account?
No, Facebook does not proactively tell your connections when you delete your account or post any sort of update about it. Nonetheless, friends may naturally notice your sudden absence and disappearance from their feeds and friend lists eventually. But the company does not broadcast confirmation of account termination activity.
Can I download my data after initiating a deletion request?
No, unfortunately once submitted, Facebook immediately deactivates profiles and removes ability to log in, preventing further data access and downloads. This is why it’s critical you backup and download anything you may want to keep prior to starting the deletion process. After you submit the request, Facebook cuts off account access rather quickly.
What happens to Facebook Messenger if I delete my account?
Since Facebook Messenger uses a separate (though linked) sign-in from your main Facebook account, deleting your Facebook profile does not automatically erase Messenger data like conversations, contacts, or chat history. You must delete each service independently. If you wish to wipe Messenger as part of leaving Facebook, go through their specialized account deletion flow within the Messenger app.
Can I remove just some Facebook data without fully deleting my account?
Yes, you can choose to prune certain information from your active Facebook account rather than complete terminating it. For example, you can delete old posts in bulk, remove tags that expose your location history, prune friends who no longer engage with you, or even temporarily deactivate your account for a break from the platform. These provide options to cut back on Facebook without fully closing your account forever.
What about secondary/pare Facebook accounts I manage for brands or clients?
When you request account deletion, you only terminate your core personal Facebook profile tied to your identity. Secondary pages you administrate for business brands, creators, influencers, or social media clients all remain unaffected by this process. Managing handled accounts carries on as usual unless you explicitly delete each property independently.
We hope this FAQ helps clarify some common questions people have about managing their Facebook account deletion process. Reach out for any other questions!
Life After Facebook Account Deletion
While it may feel daunting to imagine life without the Facebook platform you’ve grown accustomed to for connecting with friends and family, many former users describe a feeling of relief and newfound freedom after taking the leap to delete their accounts.
Still, it takes some adjusting to avoid falling back into habits out of boredom or curiosity, especially in the first couple weeks. Here are some tips people share on healthy Facebook alternatives as you navigate the transition:
- Stay busy with activities, hobbies, and social events to distract your mind from returning out of impulse. The busier, the better!
- Tell close connections you’re leaving Facebook and share other ways to contact you so relationships stay intact.
- Explore alternative social networks like Twitter or TikTok to get your social media fix in moderation.
- Consider less performative networks like NextDoor to engage locals around neighborhood issues.
- Join real-world clubs, Meetup groups, community centers, and activity groups to socialize offline.
- Game online with friends using multiplayer platforms like Discord that foster genuine interactions.
- If you feel isolated, focus on personal development and self-care practices until connections rebuild.
While the first days or weeks without Facebook may prove challenging, most ultimately describe feeling less stressed, more focused, and happier overall. With intention, you can retain social bonds outside of Facebook and rediscover passions once crowded out by feed scrolling.
In closing, deleting your Facebook account provides definitive closure on the past era of your life suffused by the social network for better or worse. The decision to leave is highly personal based on your experiences and values. Hopefully this guide gives you clarity on how to sever ties with Facebook gracefully as you embark on an exciting new chapter beyond their platforms.