How to Permanently Delete Your Facebook

 

Ah, Facebook. The social media platform that has been at the heart of privacy scandals, security concerns, and misinformation campaigns for too many years now.

A lot of people have already left the social media giant.

For some, it was the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Or the fact that third-party apps could harvest not just your data, but your friends’ data too. And then use that information to influence key political votes. Or maybe a mere 200 to 600 million Facebook and Instagram passwords were kept in plain text.

Sometimes the reasoning can hit closer to home. Tired of the constant stream of targeted adverts? A creepy ex stalking you?

Even if it’s just because you want less distractions in your life, there are countless reasons why you might consider deleting Facebook.

Whatever yours is, we’ve got you covered. 👇

What to consider before deleting Facebook

Walking away from such a big social platform is no easy task.

Facebook is one of the easiest ways to keep in touch with family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. So, you probably have a lot of memories (good or bad) tied to the platform.

Before you take the step to delete your account, it may be worth talking to loved ones to plan how you’re going to keep in touch.

There are plenty of alternative social media platforms and secure messaging apps available.

How to save your Facebook data

Download your Facebook data first. For nostalgia’s sake or just to cringe at your past self.

You can actually get a copy of every photo and video you ever uploaded to Facebook.

You also get a few interesting insights, such as which advertisers uploaded contact lists that included your details.

To download your information, just follow these steps:

  1. Click the account menu arrow in the top right corner on a web browser.
  2. Select ‘Settings & Privacy’ and go to ‘Settings’.
  3. In the left column, click ‘Your Facebook information.’
  4. Next to ‘Download your information’, click ‘View’.
  5. Add or remove any categories of data you want to download
  6. Select the format of your download, your media files’ quality, and a data range of information.
  7. Click ‘Create file’ to confirm the download request.

After you’ve made your download request, it will be flagged as pending in your ‘Available files’ section, under the ‘Download your information’ tool.

It can take several days for Facebook to finish preparing your download request.

Once it’s ready, you’ll get a notification letting you know you can download your data.

How to delete your Facebook account permanently

Now, with all your memories preserved, you’re ready to pull the plug on the social media giant.

  1. Click the account menu arrow in the top right corner on a web browser.
  2. Select ‘Settings & Privacy’ and go to ‘Settings’.
  3. In the left column, click ‘Your Facebook information.’
  4. Choose ‘Deactivation and Deletion.’
  5. Choose ‘Permanently Delete Account.’
  6. Click ‘Continue to Account Deletion.’
  7. Click ‘Delete Account.’
  8. Confirm this with your password and click ‘Continue.’

You’ll have 30 days to think this over. If you change your mind, simply log back in within the month, and your account will be restored.

It can take up to 90 days from your request for Facebook to completely delete all the things you’ve posted. During this time, Facebook will also keep your data for things like legal issues, terms violations, or harm prevention efforts.

How to deactivate your Facebook account

Let’s face it. The flood of news, politics, protests, scandals, and influencer drama can take a toll on anyone.

And even if you’re on Facebook just for cat videos and cute pics, it’s hard to avoid polarizing posts.

Sometimes, you might just need a break from all that to focus on your mental health.

In this case, you can choose to disable your Facebook account temporarily.

  1. Click the account menu arrow in the top right corner on a web browser.
  2. Select ‘Settings & Privacy’ and go to ‘Settings’.
  3. In the left column, click ‘Your Facebook information.’
  4. Choose ‘Deactivation and Deletion.’
  5. Choose ‘Deactivate Account.’
  6. Click ‘Continue to Account Deactivation’ and follow the instructions to confirm.

Facebook, the sinking ship

Did I mention that Facebook is the worst for your privacy? Let me put that into perspective with a nifty little timeline.

2007
Facebook drew criticism after it began allowing search engines to index profile pages, though Facebook’s privacy settings let people opt-out of this.
2007
BBC’s Watchdog program expressed concern that Facebook could be an easy way to collect an individual’s personal information and facilitate identity theft.
2008
On May 31, the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic filed a 35-page complaint with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner against Facebook based on 22 breaches of the Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
2008
An article in The New York Times pointed out that Facebook does not provide users with a mechanism to close their accounts. People were concerned that their private user data would remain indefinitely on Facebook’s servers. It wasn’t until 2013 that Facebook gave people the option to delete their accounts.
2010
The Electronic Frontier Foundation identified two personal information aggregation techniques called “connections” and “instant personalization”. They demonstrated that anyone could access information saved to a Facebook profile, even if the information was not intended to be made public.
2010
The Wall Street Journal found that many of Facebook’s top-rated apps, including apps from Zynga and Lolapps, transmitted identifying information to dozens of advertising and internet tracking companies.
2011
The Irish Data Protection Commissioner started an investigation after receiving 22 complaints by europe-v-facebook.org, founded by a group of Austrian students over data retention concerns.
2011
Facebook enabled an automatic facial recognition feature called “Tag Suggestions”. The European Union’s data-protection regulators said they would investigate the feature to see whether Facebook’s new AI violated privacy rules.
2012
Facebook had to change to respect the Europeans’ right to access all the information collected about them. But the efforts were not enough to comply with European law by europe-v-facebook.org. The download tool didn’t allow users to view all data gathered on them.
2012
The public began being more aware of cyberstalking. Facebook once again came under scrutiny as 63% of profiles were automatically set “visible to the public”. Anyone could access them and keep tabs on the users. Facebook also had its lax built-in messaging system, letting anyone message anyone, unless they had set it to “from friends only”.
2016
Facebook ran Project Atlas, publicly known as Facebook Research. The market research program analyzed data from teenagers and young adults, aged 13 to 35. It looked at stuff like app usage, web browsing history, web search history, location history, personal messages, photos, videos, emails, and Amazon order history. Participants got up to $20 a month for being part of Facebook Research.
2018
Facebook’s 2013 acquisition, Onavo, came under the spotlight. The utility app was marketed as a VPN, but it was used on the Insights platform to gauge apps’ usage and market share. Facebook used the data to make business decisions.
2018
A bug exposed app developers to photos uploaded to Facebook accounts, but never published. Around 6.8 million users and 1,500 third-party apps were affected.
2018
Between 2010 and 2018, Facebook granted over 150 companies access to users’ private messages, address book contents, and personal posts, without consent. Microsoft, Amazon, Yahoo, Netflix, and Spotify were on the third-party list. This happened despite statements from Facebook that it had stopped the practice years ago.
2018
Facebook admitted that an app related to Cambridge Analytica harvested 87 million users’ data without their consent in 2014. The harvesting data procedure included exploiting the connections of Facebook users who sold their data via the app. Following the revelations of the breach, several public figures announced that they were deleting their Facebook accounts, using the hashtag “#deletefacebook”.
2019
It was revealed that several Facebook apps, like Flo, had been sending users’ health data such as blood pressure and ovulation status to Facebook without the user’s consent.
2019
Facebook admitted that it had mistakenly stored hundreds of millions of passwords of Facebook and Instagram accounts in plain text on multiple internal systems. They were only accessible to Facebook engineers, but they dated as far back as 2012.
2019
The Hungarian Competition Authority fined Facebook around $4 million for false advertising. It ruled that Facebook cannot market itself as a free service because the use of detailed personal information to deliver targeted advertising constituted a form of compensation to Facebook in exchange for using the service.
2020
January 2020 was the first time Facebook alerted users and advised them to check their privacy settings. Yep, 16 years after it was founded.

It’s also hard to take what Mark Zuckerberg at face value, because Facebook seems to do exatly the opposite plenty of times.

For example, on March 6, 2019, the CEO of Facebook said this about secure data storage:

People should expect that we won’t store sensitive data in countries with weak records on human rights

And then, barely one week later, Facebook opened a data center in Singapore. A country with a weak human rights record; especially when it comes to privacy and freedom of expression.

Not to mention that Zuckerberg also made it very hard to ignore his company’s influence online.

Facebook has code capable of tracking you in over 40% of free Android and iOS apps. This means even if you delete your Facebook account, you can still end up being tracked via unaffiliated apps.

You’ve probably seen the “Like” button embedded into a lot of websites too.

This is another way Facebook can hoover up information on what websites you like to visit, what links you clicked, how long you spent on a certain page, and much more.

You don’t need to have an account on the platform itself. But your activity on other websites is still being reported back to Zuck & Co.

Which is just great. Not. 🙄

But you can mitigate Facebook’s reach.

By using a VPN when surfing online, you restrict companies’ ability to keep tabs on you and serve you ads.

Mission accomplished

Well, Ghosties, that’s how you delete Facebook.

Are you planning on taking the plunge? Or have you been steering clear for a while now? Let me know in the comments.

I’m sure you’ll REALLY miss scrolling through endless feeds of baby and cat pictures. But just think of all the time you’ll save!

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Natasha A jackson

Posted on 29/06/2019 at 04:00

Simply marvellous

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