How to deactivate or permanently delete your Facebook account
Finally ready to unfriend Facebook?
The social media giant has drawn its share of criticism on multiple fronts, such as how it handles the spread of misinformation on its platform or its strategies for safeguarding your personal data.
Recently, social justice and civil rights groups are urging users to join in a nationwide boycott of Facebook, claiming the site has caused significant harm to American life.
And last year, following the death of George Floyd, advertisers pledged to stop marketing on Facebook as part of a temporary boycott over the social network's failure to remove hate speech.
Whether it's to avoid political rants or worries about how your data is managed, it is fairly easy to escape Facebook if and when you're ready to leave.
Here's how to delete or deactivate your Facebook account:
Deactivate or delete?
Facebook gives you two choices: either deactivate your account or delete it.
When you deactivate your Facebook account, you can come back whenever you want. While it's deactivated, users can't see your timeline or search you, and pages you control will be deactivated. However, some information like messages you send may remain visible to other users.
When you delete your account, it's permanent and you can't go back. Everything you have added to your account is deleted permanently within a few days of your decision. Friends may still have access to messages you sent after your account was deleted. Facebook says copies of some data such as log records may stay in their database "but are disassociated from personal identifiers."
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How to deactivate Facebook
Go to your main profile, and click the arrow icon at the top right corner. Choose Settings & Privacy, then Settings. On the left column, you'll see an option called Your Facebook Information. Head toward Deactivation and Deletion at the bottom of the page. You'll then be given an option to deactivate or delete. Choose deactivate and follow the necessary steps. Keep in mind any time you log in after this automatically reactivates your account.
How to permanently delete Facebook
Take the same steps as deactivation, only you will choose to Delete. After that, take the necessary steps and your account is deleted. If for any reason you change your mind after choosing to delete, Facebook says you have 30 days to cancel the account deletion. Facebook also says it make take up to 90 days to fully delete everything tied to your account.
If you do choose to delete, you might also want to download a copy of your information on Facebook such as photos or videos.
A word on Instagram and WhatsApp
They're both owned by Facebook, too. So if you completely want to rid yourself of all things Facebook, you might want to consider deleting your Instagram or WhatsApp accounts.
More social media separation?
Instagram: How to delete or deactivate your account
Twitter: How to delete or deactivate your account
Snapchat: How to delete or deactivate your account
Robotexts: How to stop them before it's too late
TikTok: Here's how to delete and request a file with all our your data
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How to delete Facebook? Here's how to delete, deactivate your account
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