All you need to know before deleting Facebook

There are many reasons why you may want to leave Facebook. Many people deactivate or delete their Facebook (FB) accounts to protect their privacy, because they are unhappy on how Facebook is operated or just want to stay clear from social media. Whatever your personal reasons might be, here is all you need to know to make a call on your FB account.

Generally speaking, you have two options: If you just 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 want to get back on Facebook.com or another Facebook-related website. On the other hand, permanently deleting is for the ones who are seeking a clear cut. Once the grace period is over you cannot access or recover your Facebook account anymore, whatsoever.

Many people out there have similar thoughts of deleting their accounts, but do not know how or where to start. The process in itself is fairly simple and straightforward. As so often, preparation is king. This article will walk you through preparation as well as the steps of temporarily deactivating and permanently deleting your Facebook account.

Many people have, at one or another time, created an Instagram account too. If you seek to deactivate or delete Instagram.

Should I delete my Facebook? 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. As to expect, deleting your account keeps you off Facebook permanently — without option of recovery once the grade period passed. The only way to get back is signing up for Facebook again.

Your family and friends will also not be able to view your profile on Facebook after you deactivated your account. Naturally the same goes for deleting your Facebook account. Deactivating your account can be used as an option to hide your Facebook account temporary as well.

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

However, you should be cautious with just 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 in the web and can compromise your other online activities. Please make your decision between deactivating and deleting keeping this in mind.

Keep using messenger after deactivating your Facebook account

If you have the Facebook messenger app installed in your mobile, 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 is off limits tho!

  • People can search and find you in the FB messenger — on mobile as well as on their laptop. Your profile appears to be still available on, while it actually isn't available on Facebook.com anymore.

If you are looking to have a peace of mind and stay away from Facebook for good, then you should consider deleting your FB account. This will be the clear cut you need to have your mind at peace and free up a lot of time at the same time.

If you are unsure or want to try it out deactiving your account is for you. Either ways, there are a few things you should prepare before deactiving (or deleting) your account.

Is it possible to move/migrate Facebook photos, friends and followers to a new account and delete/deactivate the old account?

No, migrations from one account to another account aren't planned for by Facebook. Accounts are intended to be used for a life-time.

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. Once you are out, the door is closed.

It's also good to know that Facebook doesn't allow to maintain multiple accounts. Users are required to permanently close any other accounts. Not even a personal and a business account are allowed in parallel. You have to make a choice.

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

No, you can't keep owning and managing a Facebook page and delete your Facebook account. Once you deactivate or delete your Facebook account the administrator rights to any linked pages are automatically suspended. After a waiting period Facebook will take your page offline.

But, this being said, there might be a way around this. You can create a Facebook Business account and transfer admin privileges to the new 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 afterwards. If you decide to reactivate your account later, you will need to undo these steps.

Will a deactivated Facebook eventually be deleted?

No, Facebook doesn't delete deactivated accounts. Deactivated in this context means only invisible on Facebook. Your account will stay in the Facebook system until you return, trigger a complete delete and wait for the end of the grace period.

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

Yes, as previously mentioned deactiving 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 thereby reactivate your account, it will become visible again. You are back at risk again as long as potentially critical Facebook posts are visible again. There have been cases of employees being terminated over old Facebook posts in multiple countries.

Safest case is to delete either the critical posts/photos or delete the whole account and maybe create a new account, if still desired.

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 the leave the social network. Here are some things to keep in mind for deactivating or deleting your FB account:

  • If you have used Facebook actively for a 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 already 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 have used one of these social login options before. Once you deactived 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 preferably to switch to email as sign-in option, as it doesn't bound 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 was successful, you have completed to switch 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 annual reminder can do wonders to replace this Facebook feature.

With the three points discussed above you are ready. You can move on to deactivating Facebook or deleting your account with the steps explained below.

How to permanently delete a Facebook Account?

As mentioned under "What should I do before deactivating or deleting my Facebook?", if you think that you have some important information in your profile then 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 hit on "Continue".

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

Done! You have just successfully marked your account for deleting. 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 changed your mind. If you want to get back you just need to log in to your account and tap on "Cancel Deletion". A complete delete takes up to 90 days. If there are activities which you want to be deleted immediately, you can do it by yourself before initiating the process. You can 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. Deactivating is an option used by those who want to stay offline for a while. For some, it is considered a better option compared to the permanent deletion of a Facebook account. All the information about your profile will remain on Facebook. 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 point 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 which appears.

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

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

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

Done! You have just successful deactivated your Facebook account.

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

Further details around deleting or deactivating your Facebook account

The devil is in the details. Sometimes not all questions are answered with the details above. Here are some more questions which are of interested for some Facebook users.

Does Facebook really delete my data?

Yes, and you don't have to just 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 which 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 the easy methods to deactivate or delete your Facebook account. Before you move into action, ask yourself which option you are really looking for and follow the step by step guides above. If you are considering to delete your FB account due to a security breach or someone accessed it you might want to consider reading how to make sure your Facebook account is secure.