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How to Permanently Delete Your Facebook Account

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Have you ever tried to quit Facebook? Not only is it difficult to disentangle yourself from your social network of friends and family, Facebook doesn’t make it easy to leave the fold. Facebook does a good job of hiding what you need to use to permanently erase your presence from the Facebook site. In this article, Michael Miller, author of Facebook for Grown-Ups and Facebook Essentials, shows you how to delete your Facebook account — permanently.

Facebook is the Internet’s largest social network. Facebook makes it easy to connect with friends, family, and colleagues – but not quite as easy to disconnect.

Put simply, it’s not easy to leave Facebook. Facebook does such a good job of networking people that it’s difficult to leave those networks; if you leave Facebook, how will you keep in touch with all your Facebook friends?

Even if you think you can live without a constant barrage of Facebook status updates, you’re then faced with the prospect of figuring out how to delete your Facebook account. This isn’t something that’s particularly easy to do; Facebook does a good job of hiding what you need to use to permanently erase your presence from the Facebook site.

How can you remove your account from Facebook? There are two ways to do it, and I’ll show you both.

Deactivating vs. Deleting

As a Facebook user, you have two options for leaving the Facebook fold. You can deactivate your account, which temporarily hides your account information from others, or you can delete your account, which permanently removes your account information. Both have their pros and cons.

Deactivating your account is meant as a temporary solution. That is, it’s something that can be undone. When you deactivate your account, Facebook doesn’t actually delete your account information, it merely hides it so others can view it. Out of sight, out of mind, I suppose; you’re not really gone.

But because your account information still exists, it’s simple enough to reactivate a deactivated account. This makes deactivation the preferred method if you think you might want to rejoin the Facebook fold at some point in the future. Of course, it also means that all your account information is still sitting on Facebook’s servers, just waiting for somebody to use it in some fashion. (Facebook, for its part, says it won’t share deactivated data, but since when do you trust ginormous profit-oriented corporations?)

If you’re absolutely, positively sure you’ll never want to be a Facebook user again – and you want more reassurance that your personal data has been wiped—then you want to permanently delete your account. This is more difficult to do, for the simple reason that your Facebook account is likely connected to lots of other websites. To erase your presence from the Facebook site, you’ll also need to sever all these external connections to your Facebook account. But once you do that, you can leave Facebook free and clear—without fear of being sucked back into the network in the future.

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