How to permanently delete a Facebook account
Here is the shortcut link to the official Facebook account deletion page.
A deceased member's account can be memorialized or removed.
Before you delete your account
- Backup your data if you'd like a copy.
- Revoke app permissions.
- Delete Facebook's apps from your devices.
- Consider a deletion epitaph to notify friends of your departure.
Revoking permissions makes it easy to spot which apps rely on your Facebook account. These can then be fixed, avoiding future access issues.
The Facebook account deletion process
Do not sign in to your account during this time unless you wish to cancel the deletion request.
Don't be fooled into a deactivation request. Deactivation is not deletion.
What happens to your data?
In theory, deleting your account removes all Facebook data related to you. In reality it's more complicated, taking about 90 days.
Allegations of complicity with National Security Agency surveillance and multiple data-privacy breaches suggest that your data may never truly be deleted.
Backup your data before deletion if you'd like a copy.
You can still cleanse your Facebook presence for everyone else,
- Delete any sensitive content that you have posted.
- Contact friends about content that you would like deleted.
Leaving social data behind
As hard as you try, some personally identifiable information may remain. This could be something as simple as your name on a message, unless you're Mark Zuckerberg.
You have little control over this or what others share about you in future. The most you can realistically do is ask your friends to respect your privacy.
Data shared with apps and advertisers is with them forever. As a Facebook user you are leaving behind a valuable personal data footprint.
What to do next?
Facebook can track non-users via the ‘like’ button and other similar means. You can minimise this and protect your privacy.
- Switch to a privacy focused browser like Brave or try a tracking blocker in your favourite.
- Use a non-tracking search engine like DuckDuckGo.
- Try a secure messaging app. Signal is a great choice.
Facebook owns social
Facebook owns WhatsApp, Instagram, Oculus and can share data between these and its own products e.g. Messenger.
Keep this in mind when using their apps. Here are the deletion links.
Enjoy your freedom
Facebook was founded in 2004. Their leadership has had well over a decade to learn from their privacy blunders. They have consistently failed to reign in their greed. Read the full story in ‘Zucked’ by Roger McNamee.
‘Demanding privacy from surveillance capitalists … is like asking … a giraffe to shorten its neck, or a cow to give up chewing. These demands are existential threats that violate the basic mechanisms of the entity's survival.’ — Shoshana Zuboff, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism.
I hope you enjoy your time away from Facebook. If this resource has helped you, please spread the word.
Web/app developer by trade?
If you produce content on the web, you can make a massive difference.
- Remove Facebook trackers/widgets e.g. ‘pixel’ and ‘like’ buttons. Use a share link instead.
- Avoid Facebook Connect for sign in.
- Reduce Facebook technology dependency. NPM Uninstall Facebook can help.
Sites could be liable for helping Facebook secretly track your web browsing.
This ethical approach would make it difficult for Facebook to track users around the web. App developers, you can help too.
I try to keep this site factual. Occasional interviews capture a more personal view.
‘Your data is very valuable to Facebook so they employ every possible pattern that they can get away with to keep it’ - Dating News.
‘While I'm not suggesting that Facebook is absolutely corrupt, it's easy to see how an institution with that much power and reach would inevitably operate under people who don't necessarily have the best intentions’ - Hosting Advice.
All power corrupts;
Facebook continues to dominate. It's important to consider their future.
‘And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that. All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ — Sir John Dalberg-Acton.