How to Quit Facebook

Delete FacebookI was chatting with some friends recently and one mentioned that she’d taken a break from Facebook.  She was deciding between getting back into it, and just quitting altogether.  She said she was on “Facebook Life Support” which I thought was pretty funny!

There are many reasons for taking a break from Facebook or pulling the plug completely.  In my friend’s case, she is starting a new career in human services and doesn’t want to be found online by clients (although there are ways around this, not being online in the first place is the easier approach).  Others might be growing weary of the daily onslaught of political ramblings in their News feed, and might rejoin after the general election in November. (Who, me???)

But whatever the reason, you can either deactivate your account, which is a temporary break from Facebook, or you can delete your account, which is permanent.  And in either case, you can first save a copy of your Facebook information.

How to save a copy of your Facebook data

Before you deactivate or delete your account, you might want to save a copy of your Facebook data.  This means you can retrieve copies of photos and videos you have uploaded, your Wall posts (status updates), message and chat conversations, and your list of friends.  You can also choose to download an expanded archive which includes details such as ads you clicked on, apps you used, friends you deleted, and more.

I’d recommend downloading the expanded archive if you are planning to delete your account completely.  Otherwise the regular archive should do.  Just follow these instructions for downloading your Facebook data.

How to deactivate your Facebook account

1. First off, make sure you know the e-mail address you used to create your Facebook account, and your account password.  Log into Facebook and go to Account Settings – Security.

2. At the bottom of the list of security settings there is a small link “Deactivate your account”.

3. Click the link and at first you’ll see big beautiful pictures of your friends pleading with you to stay.  They care! They really like me! They don’t want me to leave!  (You won’t see that in the screenshot below because this test account profile has no friends :-( ).  Underneath there is a short form.  Select your reason for deactivating.  Check the box to opt out of Facebook e-mails.
Click Confirm.

Screenshot of the Facebook Deactivate account page

click for larger view


5. Enter your Facebook password and click Deactivate Now.

Password confirmation to deactivate account

6. Next you’ll get a security prompt.  Enter the “captcha” text and then click Submit.

Enter Captcha text at the security check prompt to deactivate account

8. You’ll get a confirmation message like this one below.  It will let you know how you can reactivate your account if and when you’re ready.

Confirmation of Facebook profile deactivation


How to permanently delete your Facebook account

If you are 100% sure, completely certain, and totally positive that you’ll never use Facebook again with your current profile, follow these steps.  You don’t have to deactivate first.  In fact if you’ve deactivated, you’ll need to reactivate in order to delete! Go figure.

1. Find the link for deleting account….under….wait a minute! It’s not under Account Settings? Why not? Hmmm.  The only way to find it is to search Facebook Help for the link. Again, go figure. For your convenience, here’s the link:

2. Click Delete My Account.

Delete my Facebook Account dialog box

3. At the Security prompt enter your password and “captcha” text.  Click Okay.

Confirm FB account deletion

4. You’ll receive this confirmation message.  Note that it will take up to 14 days for your account to be deleted.

Your Facebook account has been deleted message


So that’s it – if you’re ready to take a break from Facebook, either temporarily or permanently, print this out and go through the steps.  These are also the steps suggested by Facebook if you want to delete an account your child under age 13 might have set up without your knowledge.

Let me know what you think – are you on Facebook life support? Will you come up for air or pull the plug?  Let me know in the comments!


About Jean

Hi! I'm a webmaster, technology educator and creator of Be Web Smart. I hope you found this article useful. If you are new here, you might like to sign up for e-mail updates, view Links and Resources on similar topics, and subscribe to the RSS feed.