If you’ve decided that you’re done with Facebook, you’re not alone — in recent years, an increasing number of users have opted to drop their accounts.However, the process of completely and permanently deleting your account is anything but intuitive. To start learning how to save all of the data you need and delete your account for good, see Step 1 below!
Method 1 of 2: Permanently Deleting Your Account
Log in to Facebook. You can’t permanently delete your account without logging in to Facebook first. If you could, it would be much easier for people with malicious intent to delete unwitting users’ Facebook accounts. To begin the process of account deletion, visit Facebook.com and provide your login info as you normally would.
- Some users who forget their login information are faced with the frustrating situation of wanting to delete an account they can no longer log into. For help logging in, click the “Can’t log in?” link on the log in screen below the boxes for your email and password. Follow the instructions on the following page to attempt to retrieve your account information with your email account, phone number, user name, or actual full name.
Save any data you need. Before you delete your account, save anything from your account that there is chance you will need later. Depending on your needs, this may include contact information, photos, personal profile content, and more. You will lose access to all of this when you delete your account, so now is your chance to make a backup of any important data.
- If there’s only a few things you need to save, you may want to save the data manually — for instance, copying important text to a word document and downloading any pictures by clicking the Download link at the bottom when you open them.
- On the other hand, if there’s a lot of data you want to save or you are unsure, you may want to download a copy of all of your Facebook data. You can do this using the Settings menu. From your main profile page, click the downward-pointing triangle in the very top right of the page, then click “Settings”. On the Settings menu, click the small link that says “Download a copy of your Facebook data”. Follow the prompts to verify your identity and begin your download.
Clear your Facebook history if desired. Next, you may want to undo some or all of your previous actions on Facebook, such as comments you’ve made, especially if they include personal information. Account deletion doesn’t occur immediately — a waiting period of 14 days must pass before your account (and the contributions associated with it) are gone for good. So, if there’s anything you want to disappear immediately, you may want to manually delete it now.
- Note, however, that some activity, like the personal messages you send to others, can’t be deleted.
- It’s easy to delete lots of your history at once with the Activity Log. To access the Activity Log, click the Privacy button in the top-right corner (it looks like a padlock next to three horizontal lines). Select “See More Settings”. On the next page, click the “Use Activity Log” link. Here, you can delete pieces of your activity by clicking the small pencil icon next to each and selecting “Delete”.
Visit the “Delete Account” page. This page, which allows you to permanently delete your account, isn’t easy to find. It cannot be accessed through Facebook normally — you have to search for it on a search engine or look it up on Facebook’s help page, Facebook.com/help. You can also follow this link. Click the “Delete my Account” button to start the account deletion process.
Enter your password and complete the CAPTCHA. A small window should pop up asking you to enter your account password and provide the letters in the random CAPTCHA image to prove that you’re human. Once you have entered these, press “Okay” to schedule your account for permanent deletion.
Wait 14 days. Once you complete the account deletion process, your account is immediately deactivated. This means that your timeline immediately disappears from the site and other users are no longer able to search for you. However, your account isn’t permanently deleted for 14 days. During this time, if you log in to your account, you’ll have the option to restore it. After the 14 days have passed, your account is permanently deleted and cannot be recovered by any means, so if you’re having second thoughts, act fast!
- If you’re positive that you want your account permanently deleted, no further action is required on your part. Simply wait 14 days without logging in and your account will be gone for good.
Understand that personal messages can’t be deleted. While permanent deletion will delete almost everything about your account, certain things will remain even after your account is deleted. Most importantly, deleting your account won’t delete the personal messages that you’ve sent to other users. Though these users won’t be able to search for you, if they manually scroll through the messages in their inbox, they can still see the messages you’ve sent. However, the message will be labeled with the grayed out name “Facebook User” (rather than your name) and the profile picture will be set to the default silhouette.
- In addition, it’s worth noting that, while your account may be gone, Facebook retains the right to keep certain types of information even after your account is deleted. Certain types of data, like photos, are deleted from Facebook’s servers soon after the account is deleted. 
Method 2 of 2: Temporarily Deactivating Your Account
Understand the difference between deactivation and deletion. If you want to get rid of your Facebook account, but you think there’s a chance, however small, that you may return in the future, consider deactivating your account rather than permanently deleting it. This “soft” method gives you most of the benefits of account deletion while saving you the hassle of making a whole new account if you ever come back to Facebook. Before making your decision, it’s important to understand how deactivation differs (and does not differ) from deletion. See below:
- Deactivating your account makes your timeline invisible to others, but keeps its information saved. This includes photos, friends, interests, etc.
- People can still invite you to events and tag you in posts when your account is deactivated, though you won’t necessarily be made aware of this.
- Deactivation is effective immediately, as is reactivation.
- A deactivated account will stay deactivated indefinitely until you reactivate it, but will never be deleted without your approval.
- Reactivation requires your login information.
Visit your security settings page. If you’d like to deactivate your account, rather than delete it entirely, start by going to your security settings page. After logging into Facebook, click the downward-pointing triangle in the top right corner and select “Settings” from the drop down menu. On the next page, click the small “Security” icon in the top left (this will be labeled with a golden badge).
Click the “Deactivate your account” link. On your security settings page, at the bottom of the screen, you should see a small link that says “Deactivate your account”. Clicking this link will take you a screen that explains the deactivation process to you and attempts to convince you to stay with pictures of friends who will miss you. Scroll past these pictures to continue.
Fill out the form for deactivating your account. To confirm your account deactivation, you’ll need to check one of the provided reasons for leaving. You can also type a short message explaining your situation, though this is not required. When you’re ready, click the “Confirm” button. Type in your password when prompted and your account will officially be deactivated.
- If you don’t want to receive ongoing email notifications from Facebook, don’t forget to check the optional box at the bottom of the deactivation form which opts you out of further emails.
- Download and back up any photos or other information you want to save before deleting your account. To find the “download” option go to “General Account Settings”>”Download a copy of your data”. This will allow you to download a copy of your data directly from Facebook.