If all this talk about Facebook and their handling of users’ personal information has you hot under the collar and wondering if it’s time to ditch Facebook from your life, you’re not alone.
The growing scandal over the misuse of Facebook profiles by political research firm Cambridge Analytica, which is accused of mining the data of 50 million users around the world, spawned #DeleteFacebook on Twitter.
For those feeling particularly aggrieved and thinking the time is right to depart the Facebook clique, it’s possible … over a period of a few months.
Do you really want to delete your Facebook account?
Deactivate or delete? There’s a difference.
If you deactivate your account:
- Your profile won’t be visible to other people;
- People won’t be able to search for you;
- But some remanence of your Facebook activity — like your messages — may still be visible to others;
- Logging in reactivates everything.
If that’s not enough for you and you’re certain you want to delete your profile, things are a little more permanent (obviously).
Facebook says: “You won’t be able to reactivate your account or retrieve anything you’ve added.”
Before you go, Facebook encourages you to download your information, heaps of stuff like posts, photos, videos, chats, your about profile and a history of your activity.
If you’re sure, here’s how to get the ball rolling.
The fine print…
Firstly, it takes Facebook a while to delete all the holiday snaps, dank memes and witty insights you’ve shared over the years, as well as the “other data stored in backup systems”.
Facebook says it could take up to 90 days, but during this time others won’t be able to access it.
But be warned: you can’t disappear without a trace.
Deleting your account does not extend to deleting stuff of yours held deep in the Facebook accounts of others.
The example Facebook gives is the example of messages you’ve sent a friend.
They will stay in their account even after you delete your account.
Also staying around will be all those awkward photos of you other people thought were a good idea to share.
And my data?
Well, that could be out of Facebook’s control.
If you’ve given third-party sites and apps access to you account over the years (remind yourself who they were and what information you gave them access to here), part of the fine print is that they can harvest — and perhaps store — stuff like your name, profile picture, cover photo, gender, networks, username and user ID.
If you want that deleted, you might have to a send a polite note to each of the services you gave access to.