Social networks walk a fine line between being a useful tool and an all-consuming addiction. They're also fraught with critics, who say that they damage our personal privacy and can convey misinformation. Whether you want your free time back or don’t like your personal info scattered about on the internet, you may be considering deactivating some accounts.
Wanting to delete your account is one thing, but actually being able to hit the delete button is another story. Social media outlets make money off of you and your information, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they don’t want to let you go. Because of this, the biggest networks have made it overly complicated to delete your account. But if you are set on getting rid of them, here’s what you’ll have to do.
Speaking of privacy, now is as good a time as any to consider a VPN, which can shield your internet activity from corporations and would-be hackers. We've tested a bunch and compiled a list of favorites.
Updated in December 2021: We've updated this guide to reflect the most current methods for leaving major social media platforms. We've also added WhatsApp.
You’ve had your Facebook account for ages, and in that time maybe you’ve posted a little too much personal information. Maybe you feel confused by the company rebranding as Meta or you have some questions about the ethics of using the service at all. Either way, you’ve had enough.
If you’ve ever deactivated your account, you may have noticed that everything goes back to normal the next time you log in, as if nothing has happened. That’s because deactivating your Facebook account is not the same as deleting it. When you deactivate your account, you are just hiding your information from searches and your Facebook friends. Although nothing is visible on the site, your account information remains intact on Facebook’s servers, eagerly awaiting your return.
Even so, deactivating your account is still a complex process. Go into your settings and click Settings and Privacy. Then click Your Facebook Information. From there, click on Deactivation and Deletion and choose Deactivate Account. Finally, click Continue to Account Deactivation and follow the instructions onscreen.
Now, to permanently delete your account, you'll need to learn where the delete option resides. From the same Deactivation and Deletion menu listed above, choose Delete Account, then click Continue to Account Deletion. Enter your password, click Continue, and then click Delete Account. It's worth noting that the actual deletion of all your data and information will take a couple days.
Yes, you read that right—it's just a request. Facebook delays the deletion process for a few days after you submit your request, and it will cancel your request if you log into your account during that time. You know, just in case you change your mind. It's crucial that you don't visit Facebook during this waiting period. Delete the app from your phone.
If you want to delete your account but don't want to lose all your account information, download all your crucial data first. The information you can download includes everything from the photos and statuses you post, to the ads you’ve clicked and the IP addresses you’ve used. The list of what’s included is extensive, but you can view it in its entirety here. Also, due to the nature of this data, you’ll want to keep it in a safe place.
To download your account, go into Settings > Your Facebook Information > Download Your Information. When your download is ready, Facebook will send you an email with a link to download. For added security, this link will expire after a few days, so download it quickly.
Even though it’s such a mobile-first service, Instagram doesn’t let you delete your account through the app. Instead, you’ll have to log into your Instagram account via the web in order to delete it.
Navigating through Instagram’s settings will only give you the option to temporarily disable your account. Disabling your account will hide your profile, photos, likes, and comments from the platform. Find the disable option by clicking the person icon in the top right corner and selecting Settings. At the bottom of the page, you’ll see the option to temporarily disable your account.
To get rid of it for good, enter this URL into your browser's address bar: https://instagram.com/accounts/remove/request/permanent. Once you’re on that page, enter your password and click Permanently Delete My Account.
In the past, Instagram users have reported that they are prompted to enter their phone number when deleting their account. Luckily, it seems like this is no longer necessary.
Thrown off by TikTok trying to connect you with IRL friends? Not vibing with the Stardew Valley cooks or everyone on WitchTok? Worried about your privacy and not convinced by the platform’s transparency report? It might be time to hang up your TikTok account. Doing so is actually very easy.
Just open the app, click on the Profile section on the bottom right. From there, click the three lines at the top right, then Manage account, followed by Delete account. A few onscreen messages will allow you to download your TikTok data and confirm your choice. Even though your account is now deactivated, your data is not deleted for 30 days.
It takes a lot of time and effort to maintain a well-curated Twitter account, but deleting your account doesn’t require as much work. Users who want to erase old tweets en masse, but not go as far as deleting their account, can use third-party apps like TweetDelete.
Before you delete your Twitter account, you may want to download your archive. This will include all your tweets in a chronological order, which is great if you want to relive your first tweet, or see all those unanswered tweets you sent to celebrities. To download your archive, click your profile icon, go to Settings and privacy, then click on Your account, followed by Download an archive of your data. From there, you can input your password to download all of your data.
Once you have your downloaded copy, you can proceed with deleting your account. On the same Twitter page where you can download your data is a section labeled Deactivate your account. You will be prompted to choose a reactivation period of either 30 days or 12 months. After clicking Deactivate at the bottom of the page, your password is required to begin the deactivation process.
Maybe you’re sick of seeing who’s besties with who according to the app’s Friend Emoji guide. Maybe you’re one of many Snapchat users converting to Instagram or TikTok, despite Snapchat’s radically different function. In any case, if you decide to delete your Snapchat account, here’s how.
Outside of the mobile app, visit the company’s Accounts Portal using a web browser and type in the username and password of the account you want to delete. It will be deactivated for 30 days, then permanently deleted after that.
Deleting your WhatsApp in an attempt to escape the all-seeing eye of Meta? Tired of encountering the abundance of misinformation spread on the social media platform? Luckily, deleting your account on WhatsApp is easier than some of Meta’s other platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Open the app and click Settings in the bottom right corner. Select Account, then confirm your phone number and click Delete My Account*.* Users who choose to reactivate WhatsApp at a later date cannot retrieve their data.
While there are a lot of social media sites out there, few are as sticky as the ones mentioned above. If you are looking to delete any of your numerous accounts, the best places to start are in your user settings or on the company’s support/FAQ page. From there you’ll be able to find the necessary path to deleting your account. Shortcuts for these web forms can be found here for LinkedIn, Reddit, and Pinterest.
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