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How do I temporarily or permanently deactivate my Facebook account?

There are many reasons you may want to leave Facebook. Many people deactivate or delete their Facebook accounts to protect their privacy because they are unhappy about how Facebook is operated or just want to stay clear from social media. Whatever your personal reasons might be, here is everything you need to know before deactivating or deleting your account.

Generally speaking, you have two options: If you want to take a long break from Facebook, then you should deactivate your Facebook account. This allows you to reactivate the account at a later date if you decide to get back on Facebook.com or another Facebook-related website. On the other hand, permanently deleting is for anyone who is seeking a permanent break from the social media platform. Once the grace period is over, you cannot access or recover your account anymore.

Many people have considered deleting their accounts, but do not know how or where to start. The process is fairly simple and straightforward. If you're planning on permanently deleting your Facebook account, preparation is king. This article will walk you through preparation, the steps of temporarily deactivating, and permanently deleting your Facebook account.

You may have similar feelings about Instagram. Here's how you can deactivate or delete Instagram.

Should I delete my Facebook Account? Or just deactivate the account?

Deactivation of your Facebook account will keep you offline for as long as you want. There is no limit to the time you can leave your Facebook account deactivated. Deleting your account keeps you off Facebook permanently — without an option of recovery once the grace period has passed. You quit Facebook for good. The only way to get back on Facebook after deletion is to create another account.

Your family and friends will not be able to view your profile on Facebook after you have deactivated or deleted your account. Deactivating your account can be used as an option to hide your Facebook account temporarily.

You should also know that any messages you have sent before are still visible to the other person when you deactivate your account. Your list of friends and interests will still be there — just in case you reactivate your account later.

However, you should be cautious with leaving your account deactivated, instead of deleting it. As time moves on you might forget about the old Facebook account. If your password gets hacked, leaked, or phished someone might access it later without your consent. This is a risk to consider as Facebook plays an important role on the web and can compromise your other online activities. Keep this in mind when you’re making your decision about deactivation and deletion.

Keep using messenger after deactivating your Facebook account

If you have the Facebook messenger app installed on your mobile device, you can still use it after deactivating your Facebook account. In detail this means:

  • You can still chat with friends on Messenger. This includes the website, Messenger.com, as well as the Facebook Messenger app. Facebook.com will be off-limits when you deactivate!

  • People can search and find you in the Facebook Messenger app — on mobile as well as on their laptops. Your profile appears to be available, but it will not be accessible through the Facebook website or app.

If you are looking for peace of mind by quitting Facebook for good, then you should consider deleting your Facebook account. Deleting your account on Facebook can free up a lot of your time and give you a clean break from the social media platform.

If you want to experiment with a break from Facebook, then deactivating your account is for you. Either way, there are a few things you should do before deactivating (or deleting) your account.

Is it possible to move/migrate Facebook photos, friends, and followers to a new account while also deleting/deactivating the old account?

No, migrations from one account to another account aren't possible with Facebook. Accounts are intended to be used for a lifetime.

Media files such as photos and videos, as well as personal messages, can be downloaded and archived. But Facebook doesn't provide an import for previously downloaded archives. However, Facebook does give you the option to download your information into a compressed zip file that can be downloaded to your device. At least you can take your data when you quit Facebook.

It's also good to know that Facebook doesn't allow people to maintain multiple accounts. Users are required to permanently close any other accounts before starting a new one. Not even a personal and business account are allowed to operate separately. You have to make a choice.

Can I delete/deactivate my Facebook account while keeping my Facebook page?

No, you can't continue managing a Facebook page and quit Facebook. Well, at least not directly. Once you deactivate or delete your Facebook account, the administrator rights to any linked pages are automatically suspended. If you choose to delete your account entirely, Facebook will take your page offline after a waiting period.

But, there is a way around this. You can create a Facebook Business account and transfer admin privileges to the new business account. This frees your personal account up for deletion. As maintaining two Facebook accounts is in violation of the Facebook terms and conditions, you will need to delete or deactivate your personal account afterward.

If you, for whatever reason, decide to reactivate your account later, you will need to undo these steps in reverse order.

What do my friends see when I deactivate Facebook?

Your friends will not be able to see your Facebook when you choose to deactivate your account. When you decide to deactivate your account, either permanently or temporarily, your account will cease to exist from their point of view. If you have chosen temporary deactivation, your account will remain invisible for the duration of fourteen days. If you have chosen permanent deactivation, your account will remain invisible until you decide to reactivate.

Can you still view a deactivated Facebook account?

Your friends or any Facebook user will not be able to find your account even when they run a search with your username. However, your Facebook messages will be visible to the person you have sent them to. Your name will appear as a Facebook user with no apparent profile. Your uploaded data will also vanish. However, it will come right back if or when you choose to reactivate the account. If you choose permanent deactivation, it would be wise to download and store your photographs and videos on another device or platform; in case you do not want to reactivate your Facebook.

Will a deactivated Facebook eventually be deleted?

No, Facebook doesn't delete deactivated accounts. "Deactivated" in this context means your account is invisible on Facebook. Your account will stay in the Facebook system until you return. If you decide to fully delete your profile and quit Facebook completely, you will have a grace period to change your mind for 30 days. Once this time is up, your account will be permanently deleted.

Will deactivating my Facebook account prevent my future employer from seeing what I have posted in the past?

Yes, deactivating your account hides it from visitors. But this doesn't mean your information will be gone or invisible forever. As soon as you log in again and reactivate your account, it will become visible again. Your potentially damaging Facebook posts might put you at risk when it comes to potential employers. There have been cases of employees being terminated over old Facebook posts in multiple countries.

When it comes to this subject, your best bet is to delete any critical Facebook posts from your account. Of course, you still have the option to delete the account entirely and create a new one.

What should I do before deactivating or deleting my Facebook?

Before you jump ship in either direction you might want to consider tidying up and preparing to leave the social network. Here are some things to keep in mind for deactivating or deleting your Facebook account:

  • If you have used Facebook actively for an extended period, you might want to download your information and store it on your computer. Facebook allows you to download all your photos, videos, posts, etc. with one single download. The download will be compressed and wrapped up as a zip file. You can put it directly into your personal archive. Please make sure to store your Facebook data export safely.

  • The following point is a little more complex and detailed. Many websites provide "Register with Facebook" or "Login using Facebook"-options by now. The blue Facebook buttons are known to offer a convenient way to sign-up for websites and services. The chances are good for you to have used one of these social login options before. Once you deactivated or deleted your Facebook account you also lost access to these websites.

    To avoid losing access, you will need to reconfigure any third-party websites and services you signed up for using your Facebook account. Depending on the number of connected sites this might take a while.

    1. First you should check the listing of apps and websites on Facebook. Sort out the websites/services you aren't using anymore and continue with the ones you would like to keep.

    For each of the sites:

    1. Surf to the respective websites. Sign in as usual with your Facebook account.

    2. Find the settings and connect a second authentication option. It's easiest to switch to email as a sign-in option, as it doesn't tie you to another social media site. If you can't find the option, you might need to contact the support of the website.

    3. Logout from the website and sign in using the new authentication method. Once the login is successful, you have successfully updated the login method. Don't forget to disconnect the website or service from your Facebook account.

  • Ask friends and family for alternative means of contact (email, phone, another social network). And don't forget to make sure you know (or ask for) when their birthday is. A simple calendar entry in your phone with an annual reminder can do wonders to replace this Facebook feature.

Now that you are prepared, you can move on to deactivating Facebook or deleting your account with the steps explained below.

Quit Facebook: How to permanently delete a Facebook Account?

As mentioned under "What should I do before deactivating or deleting my Facebook?", you should first download a copy before proceeding with the steps outlined below. If you want to temporarily deactivate your account, then skip this section.

  1. Access your settings page by clicking on the dropdown menu found on the top-right corner of your Facebook page.

    Delete your Facebook account (Step 1): Navigate to "Settings".

  2. On the left pane, you will see your Facebook account information. Click on it and then tap on "Delete Your Account and Information". Proceed to "Delete your account and information".

    Delete your Facebook account (Step 2): Navigate to "Delete your account and information".

  3. A new page is loaded which gives you options to either download or deactivate your account. This is where you can download a copy of your Facebook profile if you need to, otherwise, proceed to "Delete Account".

    Delete your Facebook account (Step 3): In the popup-window click "Delete Account" to proceed.

  4. You will be required to confirm your account at this stage by entering your password. Do as asked and click on "Continue".

    Delete your Facebook account (Step 4): To confirm enter your password.

Done! You have successfully marked your account for deletion. Give Facebook 30 days to complete the deletion.

Changed your mind on deleting your account?

Facebook gives you a grace period of 30 days upon which you can cancel the deletion of your account, just in case you change your mind. If you want to get back on, you just need to log in to your account and tap on "Cancel Deletion". A complete delete takes up to 90 days.

How to delete something from Facebook immediately?

If there are activities which you want to be deleted immediately, you can do it by yourself before initiating the process. You might want to clear the activity logs, posts, and search history.

How to temporarily deactivate my Facebook Account?

If it's for an offline week in nature or a break from social media for personal reasons, deactivation is the route you want to go. Deactivating is an option used by those who want to stay offline for a while, but not permanently. All the information about your profile will remain on Facebook. Keep in mind, this can make you vulnerable to a security breach without your consent.

To proceed, follow these steps:

  1. Access your settings page by clicking on the dropdown menu found on the top-right corner of your Facebook page. If you can't find the menu, you can also access it via "Settings" -> "General" -> "Deactivate your account".

    Deactivate your Facebook account (Step 1): Navigate to "Settings".

  2. On the left pane, you will see your Facebook account information. Click on it and then tap on "Delete Your Account and Information". Proceed to "Delete your account and information".

    Deactivate your Facebook account (Step 2): Navigate to "Deactivate your account and information".

  3. Choose "Deactivate Account" on the page that appears.

    Deactivate your Facebook account (Step 3): In the popup-window click "Deactivate Account" to proceed.

  4. Type your password if requested and click on "Continue"

    Deactivate your Facebook account (Step 4): To confirm the deactivation enter your password.

Done! You have just successfully deactivated your Facebook account.

The deactivated account remains in the Facebook database until you return to activate the account. Facebook won't initiate a delete for you.

Further details around deleting or deactivating your Facebook account

If you still have questions about your information and Facebook, here are some more questions that are of interest to Facebook users.

Does Facebook really delete my data?

Yes, and you don't have to take Facebook's word for it. The process of deleting profiles and content (photos, videos, etc.) has been verified by government agencies such as the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as well as the Irish Data Protection Commissioner. You can read more about this here.

Naturally, this does not apply to information that has been shared with third parties such as sites you have signed in using Facebook. You will need to reach out to these third parties to delete your information separately. It's recommended to go through and delete your information on third-party sites before you deactivate or delete your Facebook account.

Quick Summary

These are some easy methods to deactivate or delete your Facebook account. Before you move into action, ask yourself which option is best for you and follow the step-by-step guides above. If you are considering deleting your Facebook account due to a security breach, you might want to consider options that will make your Facebook account more secure.