How to Remove Yourself from Facebook
Linda Collins - September 30, 2019
Social media has become a powerful way to keep in touch with family, reconnect with friends, and even increase the network of people you know. For all of the benefits that Facebook and other social media platforms have offered, it has also created a number of challenges, potential new problems, and often it isn’t until we face certain difficulties that we wake up to those effects.
You may find yourself recently wanting to get away from Facebook, especially if you’re pursuing a new career, new job, or simply understand that some of the things you may have posted in the past, the way you “acted” on this social media platform, were not exactly putting you in the best light.
More Employers View the Facebook Pages of Potential Hires
Every so often a news story hits the circuit about an employer — from a small business to a major corporation — firing someone for comments they made on their social media platforms, which includes Facebook.
There have also been stories of people, often young twentysomethings, trying to establish a name for themselves and build a career, who were passed over for a job simply because of the content found on their Facebook page.
These young men and women may have been the most experienced, the most qualified, had the best grades in school, interned at the right places, and have the kind of passion and dedication that aligns with a company’s mission and vision, but their personal Facebook pages caused too much concern, doubt, or worries about who they truly were as a person.
So, they get passed over simply because of the content found on their Facebook page.
It’s Easy to Assume Your Facebook Page is ‘Private’
Even if you set your Facebook settings to the highest privacy level, nothing is really secure online. When you have friends or family and post content, if they comment on it, their friends, followers, and others may be able to see it, even for years after the post.
Suddenly, you have what can best be described as a spider web of reach from your simple post to just about anyone in the world being able to see it, if only briefly. Anything you post on Facebook is potentially an open book.
This idea of private settings has been, for as long as Facebook has been around since 2005, a bit of false assurance.
You could go into an interview, nail that interview, answer the questions perfectly, impress the hiring manager, and be told right on the spot, “Everything looks good. I think you’re going to fit in well here. Expect a call from us in a couple of days,” but then find out you didn’t get the job.
After some questions, you may find out it had something to do with your Facebook page. Or maybe you’ve just matured since those younger, reckless years when you were posting anything and everything that came to mind, joining in on teasing a fellow classmate, assuming it was all in good fun, not realizing how cruel and callous it truly was, and so on.
Most of Us Grow Up at Some Time
If that describes you now or for some other reason you want to get off Facebook, there are several ways to go about it. However, you do need to understand that simply deactivating your Facebook account will not remove you from the Internet or the platform completely.
You can also set your privacy settings so that no one will be able to find you when they search through the Facebook search option.
If you’re looking to completely remove yourself from Facebook and have no lasting footprint, though, you will have to go all the way (to ‘Delete Account’). Keep in mind, though, even if you do completely remove yourself from Facebook, that doesn’t mean every post, every comment, or every single thing you have done or posted will be gone forever.
If people were tagged in some of your posts, if you have certain comments listed on various posts in the past, those may remain, along with your name attached to it, even though there might not be a profile picture any longer.
A Word of Caution
Social media is a double-edged sword. It can simultaneously be a valuable asset that helps people stay connected in ways they wouldn’t be able to otherwise, especially with friends and family, but it can also leave a lasting negative impression or footprint online.
Some research has indicated that addiction to Facebook and other social media platforms is a very real and serious condition. It has the potential to make it extremely difficult to disconnect or completely remove yourself from Facebook, not technically but emotionally.
Whatever reason you want to remove yourself from Facebook, you may feel liberated. You may feel a sense of relief, that you have finally left behind a part of your past you don’t want following you. You may even want to remove yourself from Facebook because of an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend, somebody stalking you, or people not leaving you alone for one reason or another.
When you do completely remove yourself from Facebook, realize that everything you have stored on there, including personal information, photos, videos, and so forth will be permanently deleted.
If there are pictures or videos or other content you posted through the years you don’t have stored anywhere else (such as on a smartphone that broke and you lost all the pictures on it, a laptop you no longer have, and so forth) download those precious memories before you completely remove yourself from Facebook.
Also, if you want to find out exactly what a potential employer or others can discover about you online, you can research yourself through a service like CheckPeople.com.
Deactivating Your Facebook Account
It’s easy to assume deactivating your Facebook account is the same as permanently removing yourself from the platform, but it’s not. Facebook offers users an option to deactivate their account, which can be done temporarily or for an extended length of time.
By deactivating your Facebook account, your information is still there. You may not show up in searches any longer, your friends will no longer see you listed in their friends list, and people will no longer be of the see most of your posts and you won’t be able to post anything new, but all of your files, pictures, posts, friends list, connections, and so forth remain active.
It is simply hidden.
Any time you change your mind and wish to return to the platform you can do so simply by logging in. In the meantime, no one will be able to look at your profile, but some messages through Messenger or comments you made on a specific post may still be actively viewable.
Permanently Removing Yourself from Facebook
Once you decide to permanently remove yourself from Facebook, the process is not really that complicated.
If you have downloaded whatever information you want, including photos or videos or other posts from Facebook, log into your account and at the top right portion of the screen, click on the down arrow to the right of your profile name.
Click Settings and then click Your Facebook Information in the left column.
Next, click Deactivation and Deletion.
The next step is to choose to Delete Account and then you will need to verify this is exactly what you want to do by clicking on Continue to Account Deletion.
You will be prompted to enter your password, and then click Continue. Once again you will be requested to click on Delete Account.
Because this is such a permanent decision, you will have to go through these steps and ensure it is exactly what you intend to do.
If you’re not certain, you may want to deactivate it for now. Also, check on what shows up on you with a background check through CheckPeople.com.
What If You Change Your Mind?
Facebook does not immediately delete all of your information from its platform, even when you choose to completely delete your account. If it has been less than 30 days since you initiated the account delete option, you can cancel it.
The process to cancel an account deletion is simple. Just log into your account within 30 days of deleting it and you will be presented with an option to Cancel Deletion.
In that regard, it is very similar to an account deactivation, but it also highlights something important you need to realize: that information you assumed was permanently removed the moment you deleted your account is still there, being stored.
Surprising? View your public records with CheckPeople.com and you might be even more surprised at what you find!
However, after 30 days has passed since you chose to delete the account, all that information, personal files, photos, posts, comments, and so forth will be permanently deleted.
You Will Not Be Able to Use Messenger, either
Messenger can be a wonderful way to keep in touch with family and friends, send quick instant messages, and communicate. When you completely remove yourself from Facebook through an account deletion, you will no longer be able to use Messenger.
You will also no longer be able to use Facebook as a login option for other programs and apps. For example, if you signed up for an app using your Facebook account, the next time you open that app after deleting your Facebook account, you will not be able to login that same way.
You will be required to use a different social media platform, if they offer that option, or potentially sign up for a new account using your email and creating a password.
This is why it’s important to understand the ramifications of completely deleting your Facebook account as well as using Facebook for signing up with other apps and platforms. The more you use Facebook as an entry point to apps and other platforms, the more complicated it will be for you to completely remove yourself from Facebook.
The best step then is to go into any other apps you have associated with Facebook, especially if you use Facebook as a login option, and change your login information, including establishing an email and password instead before deleting your Facebook account.
You Can Finally Leave That World Behind
The world is changing rapidly and as more people have access to greater and greater amounts of information, including about your personal life that you share on social media, it can be a wonderful feeling to finally step back and completely remove yourself from Facebook.
It may be a difficult transition, especially if you have spent considerable time using this social media outlet. However, when you’re looking to establish a better future for yourself, are embarrassed or frustrated by things you had posted in the past, or simply no longer want people to be following you and blocking them has not worked, being able to remove yourself from Facebook can be liberating.
Just understand, though, that some things you may have posted in the past might still be accessible or visible, especially if others have used screen grab software to capture those moments forever.
Find out exactly what’s out there on you by relying on a service like CheckPeople.com.