How to Permanently Delete a Facebook Account: 5 Steps

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Facebook has been incredibly successful at getting and retaining customers. Users of Facebook share photos, thoughts, and videos, and connect with their friends. While the site is interesting and engaging, it can eat up a lot of your time. 

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If you are managing digital assets after the death of a loved one, you may be interested in shutting down a Facebook account for them. Leaving Facebook accounts active for those who have passed away can leave them vulnerable to hackers.

It’s a good move to close any unused accounts so that the digital legacy of your loved one is secure.

How to Completely Delete Your Own Facebook Account

Facebook, like many websites, encourages users to deactivate rather than delete Facebook accounts. They want you to get the experience of not using the account without regretting that you’ve lost all your old photos and posts. If, however, you are resolved to delete your Facebook account, here are the steps to complete the process.

1. Log into Facebook

To begin the deletion process, first, log into your account. Facebook recommends that you download your Facebook information before you delete an account. You can access account information download options in the settings menu.

2. Click “Settings”

Once you’ve logged into Facebook, click on the small downward arrow in the upper right corner of the screen. Under this menu, you’ll see the option for “Settings”. Click on it. Select the option “Your Facebook Information”.

3. Click “Deactivation and Deletion”

Under this menu, you’ll see a button called “Deactivation and Deletion”. Under this menu, there are two options: deactivate your account, and delete your account permanently.

Each one summarizes the thoroughness of that choice. Select the "Deletion" option and click “Continue to Account Deletion”.

4. Continue through the dialog boxes

The interface will ask you to confirm your password and confirm your desire to delete your account. This sets in motion the process of deletion, which may take up to 90 days. When you delete your account, your data is no longer attached to your account.

However, Facebook does retain some of your data for legal reasons. This data is anonymized. It isn't public or available to searchers and friends on Facebook.

5. Don’t log back in during the 30 days after the request

If you log back in during the 30 days after the request, you have the option to “Cancel Deletion” and bring your account back.

The necessary steps to remove your account do not truly end until you finish those 30 days. At that point, all your account information becomes permanently inaccessible.

ยป MORE: How do you host a virtual or hybrid funeral? Start here

 

How to Delete a Facebook Account for a Deceased Person

Facebook now offers the option to “memorialize” your Facebook account. They also let users make their own choices about how their Facebook page lives on after they die. In some cases, people appoint a “legacy contact” who can make changes to the memorialized Facebook account. This allows people to leave messages on a tribute version of the person’s profile.

In other cases, the deceased person may have expressed to Facebook that they want their account deleted after their death. This means that Facebook will process an account deletion as soon as they are informed of the individual’s death.

In any case, for you to start this process, you’ll want to see if someone in your family knows the deceased person’s wishes about their Facebook account.

1. Confirm the legacy contact on the account

Check with family members and friends to see if anyone has been listed as the legacy contact on the account. If no one comes forward, you may start the process with Facebook.

Once Facebook is informed, they may email the legacy contact.

2. Fill out the form to delete the account

Facebook offers a form that allows you to report that a user is medically incapacitated or deceased. Fill this out with the information requested. The form will ask whether you want to memorialize the account or delete it.

3. Respond to any further information requests from Facebook

A Facebook representative should contact you to explain the next steps in the process. They will most likely reach out to the legacy contact as well if someone has been listed. The representative should express the wishes of the deceased person regarding their account, should they have any.

From there, you or the legacy contact will be granted access as an account admin for the Memorial page or the account will be deleted.

Facebook Account Deletion: FAQs

Your personal account may not be the only page you leave behind on Facebook. There is a variety of other Facebook functions which you or a deceased family member may have had access to, or played a role in managing. These include Groups, Pages, and messages. In this section, we address some frequently asked questions related to deleting a Facebook account and other parts of Facebook.

What’s the difference between deactivating, deleting, and memorializing my Facebook account?

Deactivating a Facebook account has to do with taking a break from Facebook. This retains all your data for the potential return of your account. Deleting is a permanent request for data removal. While it doesn’t go into effect instantly, it is irreversible once 30 days have elapsed after your request.

Memorializing a Facebook account makes it inactive and retains a page where well-wishers can post memories of that individual. The page turns from the person’s name into, “Remembering (person’s name).” As part of our post-loss checklist, we recommend you either delete or memorialize your loved one's Facebook account to protect their information.

How do I delete a Facebook page that I created?

To delete a Facebook page, go to that page and select settings. From there, click General and Remove Page. There will be an option for Delete [Name of Page]. Click Delete Page, then OK. If you simply want to work on the page without it being visible, you can use the option to Unpublish Page.

How do I delete a Facebook business page?

You can follow the same steps as for other Facebook pages.

How do I delete a Facebook group that I created?

Deleting a Facebook group is only an option once you’ve removed all members. Go to your admin area of the Group and click on the option next to each member’s name. Select "Remove From Group" for each one. When you are the only one left, select "Leave Group". Then, select the option "Leave and Delete".

If you want to retain the conversations of the group without deleting it, archiving is a way to freeze the group and not allow new members or posts.

How do I delete Facebook messenger or my messages history?

Deleting Facebook messenger as an application on your phone is up to your phone’s procedures, but messenger is a core part of a Facebook account. You’ll have to delete Facebook to completely delete Facebook messenger.

While there is not currently a feature to delete your entire message history, you can delete individual conversations. Click the gear icon at the top of the conversation, then click "Delete Conversation".

Freedom From Facebook

Many people see an inactive, unused Facebook page as a liability they no longer wish to have. It’s also valuable to avoid leaving a Facebook page active as if a deceased loved one is still alive, especially when there are options for taking the page down and closing the account. There is also the additional option of using the account as a Memorial page for those who cared about this person, giving those experiencing grief the freedom to share their feelings in a semi-public way.

By choosing to delete your Facebook account, you opt to have a less complex and cluttered digital legacy, which can be a nice resolution if you are trying to simplify your digital accounts. Anyone handling your digital assets after death will have less to keep track of.

For your other online accounts, work to consolidate everything into a clear, easy-to-use password manager, and start end-of-life planning on a great user interface like Cake.


Sources

  1. “Deactivating or Deleting Your Account.” Facebook Help Center. Facebook. facebook.com/help/250563911970368?helpref=hc_global_nav
  2. “Special Request for Medically Incapacitate or Deceased Person’s Account.” Facebook Help Center. Facebook. facebook.com/help/contact/228813257197480
  3. “How do you delete or archive a Facebook group?” Facebook Help Center. Facebook. facebook.com/help/174988392554409?helpref=search&sr=1&query=deleting%20a%20facebook%20pag
  4. “How do I delete my Facebook Page?” Facebook Help Center. Facebook. facebook.com/help/223786757631885?helpref=search&sr=3&query=how%20do%20you%20delete%20a%20facebook%20page
  5. “How do I delete a conversation on Facebook?” Facebook Help Center. Facebook. facebook.com/help/192631610782421?helpref=related

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