Almost every social media user at some point looks into or at least wonders how to deactivate Facebook. Maybe you have a big project looming and are trying to discipline yourself in terms of your “online time.” You may be trying to escape the latest current-events debates, or perhaps you just don’t feel safe (though you can learn from these tips). There are countless motivations to deactivate your account. What matters is getting through the deactivation process as quickly and hassle-free as possible.
How to Deactivate Facebook | The Easy-to-Follow Steps Toward Digital Detox
Step 1: Know the Difference Between Deactivating and Deleting
One of the first things to remember in learning how to deactivate Facebook is the difference between deactivation and deletion. Don’t accidentally hit the “Delete Your Account” button when you just meant to deactivate it.
For many people, deactivating is a happy medium between social media saturation and total deletion. Even if you think you may want to leave Facebook forever — which many people say, in the heat of the moment — deletion may be a step you’ll later come to regret.
To delete your account means you can’t recover it anymore. Everything you have on Facebook, including your profile, status updates, and photos, is gone.
If you decide to return to Facebook after deleting your account, you’ll have to start with an entirely new profile. It’s not impossible to rebuild some of the information (minus the photos, of course), but you’ll likely find out the hard way how much you’ve been relying on FB for holding on to information once your profile is gone.
To deactivate means to “shut down” your profile temporarily. Your friends and family can’t see your FB account in the news feed. The data stored, though, remains. You can reactivate your account anytime you change your mind.
If you’re really determined to permanently delete your account, follow Facebook’s instructions here.
Step 2: Save What You’ll Need During Deactivation
Before you go into temporary “exile,” it helps to pretend your FB profile is about to vanish forever.
What’s on there that you don’t have elsewhere? Save rare photos and videos. Copy and paste contact information that may have been exchanged in private messages unless you keep your Messenger app operational.
Look at your Upcoming Events calendar and jot down anything you may want to attend. Consider your personal and private groups. Are there useful links or tips lurking in pinned status messages or sidebars? This is a good time to retrieve the info if you’re not sure when you’ll be reactivating your Facebook account.
Another option is to download a copy of your personal data. Click the drop-down menu. It’s the arrow at the farthest right of your screen. Look for Settings. Under General Account Settings, scroll down and search for Download a Copy. Click it and wait until all your information has been downloaded.
Step 3: Remove Facebook Connect Options
Another important step on how to deactivate Facebook is to remove the Connect option.
Many websites make it easy for you to sign in and use their tools. You can use your Facebook account. These include Instagram account, Twitter, blogs, mobile app, and news sites.
When you have an account deactivation, these websites or apps may not be able to detect it. If you accidentally log yourself onto Facebook using another site’s login system, you may end up activating it again.
The best way to avoid this is to remove the linked apps from your profile before you deactivate it. You’ll find the Linked Accounts information under the Account Settings drop-down menu.
Step 4: Go Back to Account Settings
Here’s how to deactivate Facebook. Go to “Settings” again. Once you’re on the “Settings” screen, you’ll find a “General Account” box. In it, look for “Manage Account.” It’s the same page where you can add a Legacy Contact.
Step 5: Go to Deactivate My Account
Once you’ve clicked “Manage Account,” you’ll find a section called “Deactivate Your Account.” Read the information there for any updates. Once you have, click the blue text that says “Deactivate Your Account.” Type your password.
Step 6: Answer the Related Questions
Facebook has some follow-up questions. The first, of course, will be “Are you sure?” It will tell you the consequences of deactivation. It never hurts to read those again, even though deactivation is a fairly low-risk action.
It will also ask for your reason to deactivate. This will probably be another drop-down menu. You can always click “Other” if you feel it isn’t FB’s business. You can also add additional comments.
There may be one or two additional questions, which you should be able to handle quickly.
Step 7: Opt Out of Facebook Emails
Facebook will give you an option to continue receiving messages from Facebook. If avoiding distractions is your key motivation for deactivation, click “Opt Out.” The social network will not send you notifications when you’ve been tagged in photos, replied to in Group discussions, or sent a friend request.
Step 8: Confirm Deactivation
After you’ve jumped through these relatively minor hoops, you’ll finally reach the Confirm button. Click it, and your Facebook account is now deactivated for as long — or as briefly — as you wish to have it on hold.
Keep in mind, though, Facebook has the option to reactivate your account within 7 days. It happens when you choose “Temporary. I’ll be back” as the reason.
Step 9: Deactivate Your Messenger App (Optional)
Some people keep their Facebook Messenger app even when they have their regular Facebook deactivated. Others opt to deactivate Messenger as well.
You can deactivate Facebook Messenger only after you’ve done it with your Facebook account. If you decide to deactivate the app, open Messenger and then click your profile picture.
Go to “Privacy and Terms” drop-down menu and select “Deactivate Messenger.” Enter your password. Choose “Continue” and then “Deactivate.”
Don’t panic if things aren’t labeled or positioned exactly as described here. The device you use can influence where Facebook places icons and menus. In addition, good old FB changes things around from time to time.
If you can’t find the step you’re looking for, do a keyword search. Once you’ve entered “privacy settings” or whatever you can’t seem to locate, the keyword phrase will be highlighted for you. When all else fails, don’t forget the “?” icon is there to help you find answers to your questions.
When you know how to deactivate Facebook, you feel empowered. It can also be a challenge without it. Get some idea of how it feels from this video by Candace Lowry:
Social networking can be overwhelming, so learning how to deactivate Facebook is essential. Do it whenever you need a digital detox.
What are your reasons for deactivating Facebook? Tell us your story in the comments section below.
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