How to backup and delete your Facebook account
Facebook are notorious for making it difficult to remove your personal data from their social network, instead prompting users to disable their account. This effectively keeps everything online, allowing you to sign back in and reactivate your account instantly – but that's not always what you want.
This can cause issues for many users, who believe that deactivating their account will make them undiscoverable or remove them from friends lists, groups and invites. Follow the instructions below to completely remove your profile from Facebook – while making sure you have a backup of your conversations, photos and more.
The first step towards deleting your account is to make sure you're not going to lose anything important!
Helpfully, Facebook have provided a way to download or back up your posts, photos, messages and more, so you won't have to worry about losing wedding photos or your favourite conversations.
Bear in mind though, this can only be done through an internet browser – not through the smartphone app!
- Open your web browser and go to www.facebook.com.
- If prompted, sign in with your current Facebook details.
- Click on the question mark (?) button in the top-right corner of the page.
- Choose Settings from the drop-down menu.
- At the bottom of the General Account Settings page, click the link for Download a copy of your Facebook data.
- You will now see a description of what is included with your Facebook backup. Read through the list to familiarise yourself with what's being saved, then click Start My Archive to continue the backup process.
- Enter your Facebook password to confirm it's actually you who's trying to save all your personal data, then click Submit.
- After reading the warning that this process can take a while to finish, click Start My Archive again. You will be emailed by Facebook once the archive is ready!
'Deactivating' your account is about as effective as simply not signing into Facebook any more – which has left a few people confused about why their 'deactivated' account is still visible to their friends.
Fortunately, there's a hidden option to totally delete your account, and unless you sign back in within 14 days, all your Facebook data will be taken down. This can take anywhere between 30 to 90 days – but once it's gone, it's gone!
You won't find this feature in the Facebook app on your smartphone, so you'll have to use an internet browser instead. Open your browser and follow the steps below to wipe your Facebook profile.
- Open up an internet browser, either on your phone or a computer.
- In the address bar (or search box), type in www.facebook.com/help/delete_account and press Enter.
- You will be asked to sign into Facebook, or if you're already signed you'll be asked to confirm your password. Make sure your details are correct and that your account is signed in before you continue.
- After signing in, you'll be taken to a new webpage which will confirm that your account is being deleted. If you change your mind and want your account back, you have up to 14 days to sign back into Facebook and interrupt the process! After the 14 days is up, your data is lost and you'll have to create a whole new account to use Facebook again.
Hopefully this guide has helped you remove yourself from Facebook! Let us know in the comments if you've found a quicker way to remove your account – and keep visiting our site for more guides like this in the future.