So much has happened with Facebook lately that it’s hard to keep track. Since Frances Haugen, a former company data scientist, released thousands of documents (now known as The Facebook Papers) and addressed a Senate subcommittee in early October, the world is more and more aware of the inner workings of the platform. and struggles.
How to delete Facebook
Your Facebook and Messenger accounts are one, so deleting one will affect the other. This won’t happen with WhatsApp or Instagram, or any other app you’ve used your Facebook account to log into.
But before you unplug, you might want to save all the data you’ve amassed on the platform over the years. First, open your favorite web browser and navigate to your Facebook page. Then click on the down arrow next to your profile picture in the upper right corner of the screen, navigate to Settings and privacy, then Settings. In the left sidebar menu, choose Your Facebook information.
Here you can see a detailed version of your data (click on Access your information), move it to another platform (click Transfer a copy of your information), Where Upload your information.
[Related: How to uncover what Facebook knows about you]
To perform the last of these options, click the Seen link next to it. This will allow you to back up anything you’ve posted on Facebook since opening your account, as well as any data the company has on you. If you only want, for example, the last few years, you can choose a date range, as well as the specific type of information you want to record, from Messenger conversations to posts, polls, locations, and events. This long list of items is fully selected by default, but you can choose what you want to take with you by clicking the checkboxes to the right.
Once you know what you want to back up, select a file format (HTML or JSON – the latter is better if you want to transfer your data elsewhere), then click Create a file. Facebook has a lot of information about you, so it won’t be immediate – it may take several days for the file (s) to become available for download. Once done, Facebook will notify you by email that your data is ready to be saved. This is an urgent matter: the files are large, so Facebook will only make them available to you for a few days before deleting them. If your download window closes on you, you will have to start over.
When everything you want to take with you is securely stored on your hard drive, you can complete deleting your account. Back on the Your Facebook information menu, scroll down to find Deactivation and deletion, which are precisely the two options you have here.
Deactivation means you can temporarily delete your account, deleting your name, photos, and most of the things you’ve shared, but you’ll still be able to use Messenger. You can undo this whenever you want. On the other hand, you can choose to permanently delete Facebook. You can’t go back on that choice, and once you do, all of your data will be lost in the internet ether. Click the bubble next to your preferred option, and then tap To continue. Facebook will ask you for your password one more time before making everything disappear.
One finished, there are two left.
How to delete your Instagram account
The process of backing up your data and deleting your account is quite similar on Instagram. On mobile, go to Settings, Security, then Download data; on the web, go to Settings, Privacy and Security, then Download request under Download data.
Just like on Facebook, you will need to ask the platform to bundle your information into one or more files so that you can download everything later. The process can take up to 48 hours, according to Instagram. If you are doing this process on the web, you can choose the format in which you want your data to enter (HTML or JSON). When the file is ready, Instagram will email you a link that will be usable for four days.
[Related: Criticism has pushed ‘Instagram Kids’ back to the drawing board]
Unfortunately, temporarily deactivating or permanently deleting your Instagram account is not as easy as with Facebook. If you are still not sure if you want to completely remove your existence from the ‘Gram, log into your account from a web browser, go to Settings, then Edit profile. Scroll down and you’ll find a link (not a button) that reads Temporarily deactivate my account do just that. The platform will ask you for a reason (you can say Something else) and your password. Once you provide it, you will be logged out and your account will be disabled until you log back in.
Deleting your account is even more complicated, as the only way to do it is to go to this webpage, which apparently hasn’t even been updated since Instagram changed its brand in 2016. If you are already logged in, Instagram will ask you for the reason you are deleting your account (again, you don’t have to provide one). Finish by entering your password and you can say goodbye to that second link with Facebook.
How to delete your WhatsApp account
WhatsApp has two sets of data that you can save: your chat history and your account information.
To save all your messages, including files that you have shared with your contacts, go to Settings and then to Discussions and Saving discussions on the mobile. There you will see your device’s backup settings (Google Drive for Android phones, iCloud for iOS devices) and you can change how often the app saves your messages to the cloud. If you want to manually back up your data, press the button TO SAFEGUARD button. If you change your mind about deleting WhatsApp later, you can easily restore your chat history.
[Related: 6 secure alternatives to WhatsApp]
To save your account information, you will need to request it. In Settings, go to Account then Request account information. There, press Send a request. As with Facebook and Instagram, you will need to wait around 48-72 hours for WhatsApp to aggregate your data. When it is ready, you will receive an automated message with a link, which you will have a limited time to use. In this case, however, instead of a few days, it will be a few weeks.
Finally go to Account then Delete my account. Enter your saved phone number and press DELETE MY ACCOUNT. This will delete your entire chat history, remove you from all your WhatsApp groups, and erase your Google Drive chat backup, along with your final link to Facebook.