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How to delete your Facebook account

Lynn Wright / 04 May 2016

Whether you’ve decided to ditch Facebook altogether or simply need a break from social media, here’s how to delete your Facebook account temporarily or permanently.

When you delete your Facebook account, it is gone forever
When you delete your Facebook account, it is gone forever

Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family but there are downsides to social networking. 

Privacy concerns and how personal information is used, along with the addictive need to check your account and the negative impact of comparing your life to others can make people want to leave Facebook. 

Be careful what you 'like' on Facebook - it could be a scam.

If you’re fed up with social media and feel the need for a social media detox, here’s our guide to deactivating or even permanently deleting your Facebook account.

Should you delete or deactivate Facebook?

With deactivation all your Facebook account information is hidden from the view of others, but it’s saved on Facebook’s servers in case you decide to reactivate your account. 

When you delete your Facebook account, it is gone forever. You need to be completely sure that you’ve finished with Facebook for good before choosing to delete your Facebook account.

Tips for staying safe on social media.

Deactivate your Facebook account

You can deactivate your Facebook account at any time for any reason. 

Deactivating your account hides your information, so no one can search for you or view what you’ve shared including your Timeline, status updates, photos and posts. 

Some information, such as messages that you’ve sent to others, may still be visible.

Facebook stores your information so should you choose to reactivate your account, everything on your profile will be there when you come back.

To deactivate your account, click the down arrow at the top right of any Facebook page and select 'Settings'. Click 'Security' in the left column and then 'Deactivate your account'.

Facebook will try to convince you to stay by showing some of your friends who may miss you. It will also ask why you want to leave, with options that include ‘I don’t find Facebook useful’ and ‘I have a privacy concern.’ You can also tick ‘Other’ and give your own reason.

You can then click 'Confirm' and your account will be deactivated.

To reactivate your account all you need to do is log on again to Facebook as normal.

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Delete your Facebook account

If you plan on never using your Facebook account again, you can delete it. 

However, once deleted your account is gone forever. You won’t be able to reactivate your account or retrieve any information, including photos that were posted.

Before you hit the delete button, make sure that you download a copy of the information from your Facebook account. To do this, click the down arrow at the top right of any Facebook page and select 'Settings'. Under your 'General Account Settings', click 'Download a copy of your Facebook data'. Then click 'Start My Archive'. Once the file has downloaded, keep it somewhere safe.

Now, stay signed in to your Facebook account and go to the Delete Account page. Click 'Delete my account'.

It can take up to 90 days to remove everything from your account, including your photos and comments on past posts but others won’t be able to see your account while this is happening. Some information not stored in your account, such as messages you’ve sent, may still be visible to others even after your deleted your account. 

For more tips and useful information, browse our technology articles.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.