All over the world, people are deciding to delete Facebook permanently. Although it may sound pretty straightforward, because so much data is at stake there is no harm in making sure that everything is taken care of properly. This guide is designed to help by allowing anybody to quickly erase a Facebook account forever.
- Is Facebook safe?
- Why do people choose to delete Facebook
- How to download your personal Facebook archive
- How to permanently delete Facebook
- Using a VPN to stop websites knowing your location
Is Facebook safe?
The reality is that there are a lot of things that users can do to protect their data on Facebook. If you are a Facebook user this should always be your first consideration. If you use Facebook responsibly, it is possible to have a profile that doesn’t divulge important things about you. You don’t have to tell Facebook everything. At the end of the day, it is your choice as the user.
Max Schrems from Europe v. Facebook, an organization that fights Facebook’s invasive nature on behalf of its clients, makes the following comment:
‘I would frequently check my privacy settings, turn everything to ‘Friends only’ and turn off ‘Platform.’ Users have to realize that you don’t just share with your Friends, but you always share with your Friends AND Facebook.’
Warning – Forever means forever
Warning! When you delete Facebook it really is gone forever. You won’t be able to change your mind later. So if you only want to make your Facebook account go away temporarily you should consider deactivating your Facebook account instead.
Delete Facebook Guide
1. Download your personal Facebook archive.
When you delete your Facebook account it is gone forever and you won’t be able to access it again. For that reason, you may want to first download an archive of your personal Facebook account. Downloading your data means you can keep it for posterity. Perhaps you can even use it to write your memoirs!
- Step 1: To download your Facebook data first go to https://www.facebook.com/settings.
- Step 2: Next, go to the bottom of the page and click on Download a copy of your Facebook data.
- Step 3: Click on Start My Archive. You will need to provide your password when prompted, to complete this stage.
- Step 4: You will receive an email from Facebook with your personal archive attached when it is ready. Be aware that it could take up to 90 days for this to be compiled for you.
2. Delete your Facebook account forever
Now that you have a copy of your Facebook data you can go ahead and delete your Facebook account if you want to.
- Step 1: Go to https://www.facebook.com/help/delete_account.
- Step 2: Read the information in the window carefully and then click ‘Delete my account’.
- Step 3: Provide your identification and password when prompted, and click on ‘OK’.
At this stage, your Facebook account has been deleted and you won’t be able to access your archive or account anymore. More importantly, you stop adding to the ongoing build up of your personal Facebook database.
One thing that it is worth remembering is that when you delete Facebook, old messages and conversations you had while you were a member still remain in other people’s inboxes. You will not have access to the old conversations, but your old contacts and friends will.
Put a stop to the voluntary surveillance process
Facebook is known to keep much of your Facebook data. Some data is even kept when you delete it. This may include:
- Basic account information: your name, username, past usernames, password, email address, and phone number.
- Information surrounding content: Information about the content you create and share while using Facebook. This includes the details of what you share and with who you share it. In addition, Facebook collects information about you from other user uploads and comments (photos, for example).
- Information surrounding connections: Facebook knows who your contacts are, and when you have contacted them. It also knows when you were with them. Passive listening is even believed to compile data about non-Facebook users that you meet in real life – ‘Subject A’ – (your grandma, for example).
- Payment information: If you complete a transaction using a Facebook service your payment information (e.g. card number, billing address, etc.) may be stored by Facebook.
Why do people delete Facebook?
People love Facebook even though it is an immense intrusion into their personal privacy. In 1931, Aldous Huxley wrote his version of a dystopian future, where people willingly choose to be enslaved by big brother. Back then, not many people would have guessed that Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ would prove to be highly prophetic. Now, however, Facebook is a detailed database of information about 1.59 billion people worldwide. A hub of personal profiling data that users willingly spend their time, and effort, helping to keep updated – just like in Huxley’s fantasy.
Take it, take it all!
Even if Facebook’s privacy settings are all taken advantage of and your ‘friends’ only get to see your data, Facebook is still working ceaselessly behind the scenes to collect information from you. In addition, the Terms of Service is such that the personal data and photos that people upload to a Facebook account are no longer legally their own.
That means that Facebook could potentially do anything it wants with user data. Facebook can pass user data on to third parties, which creates an unimaginably vast potential for the dissemination of user data.
Where do the details of my life end up?
Then there is the question of where Facebook stores user data. Where are Facebook’s servers? More importantly, what are the laws in the country where that data is being stored?
For a long time, cyber security was hugely misunderstood by the general public. Digital privacy was taken for granted and people thought that no one was looking at the data they created online. Snowden helped to change that, and the masses are waking up.
Facebook: a complex web of problems
A constant barrage of fresh hacking incidents – involving record breaking amounts of user data – also serves as a catalyst. People now understand that the data they put on Facebook’s servers could potentially fall victim to hackers.
Next, there is the question of fake or ‘cloned’ accounts. Many people have cyber doppelgangers, whose accounts are used to victimize their friends and contacts using social engineering and phishing.
As you can see, Facebook can easily be considered a sophisticated form of surveillance – cunningly disguised as a life changing social platform. These days, however, it is not just ‘conspiracy nuts’ that tell people not to sign up for Facebook (as they have since its inception). Now everyone is beginning to ask the question:
‘How do I permanently delete my Facebook account?’
Using a VPN to stop Facebook knowing your IP address
One of the main things that people often don’t like disclosing to Facebook is their location. Your IP address allows Facebook to keep a database of every location that you ever logged onto Facebook from. There is a solution, though.
A VPN service allows users to ‘spoof’ their IP address to a remote location using VPN servers. This means that Facebook doesn’t know where you are and simply logs the VPN server location instead to your database. This also works for all websites: none of them can tell your real location.
Delete Facebook – Conclusion
In this guide, we have provided a detailed step by step walk through for you to delete your Facebook account permanently. That way, you can easily proceed with cutting the umbilical cord between you and a service that many see as a privacy invading parasite.
Thanks to our simple guide, you will soon be back in the great outdoors. Clicking ‘like’ can fade into your past, and you can enjoy filling your lungs with fresh air – as you search your neighborhood – for an ultra rare Pokemon, perhaps.