Facebook has plastered itself all over the news this year – and not for any good reasons. Whistleblower Frances Haugen has accused Facebook of putting profits before safety and her leaks have revealed Facebook’s apparent awareness that Instagram is damaging teen mental health.
Maybe all of this has made you want to delete your Facebook account? To remove Mark Zuckerberg from your life altogether? But, in thinking about quitting Facebook you may not be aware that also means no more Instagram, WhatsApp, and of course, Facebook Messenger, all brands now under the Facebook umbrella. It’s not easy to remove yourself from the Facebook ecosystem – but if you want to, read on.
How to quit Facebook, the checklist
- Choose alternative platforms carefully and research their particular issues
- Tell friends and family and collect their contact details
- Arrange alternative owners for business pages or groups
- Check which other apps use your Facebook login
- Download your data and your photos
- Hold your nerve for the 30-day cooling off period
If you still want to quit Facebook, get in touch with any family and friends whose contact information you don’t have, to tell them about your decision. If you have a Facebook business page that you’d like to keep active, you’ll need to pass it on to someone else in the business. The same for any groups you may have set up, or are an admin for. Next, you’ll need to check that you don’t use Facebook to log into its associated apps – Instagram, WhatsApp, or any another app. When you delete your Facebook account you won’t be able to log into any other account that you use your Facebook login for.
Download your data and photographs before you delete your account. On a web browser, go to Settings & Privacy → Settings → Your Facebook Information → Download Your Information. Under date range, select All Time. Hit Create File.
Once the groundwork is done, it’s time to quit. You may decide to start small, i.e., removing Facebook and Messenger apps from your phone, but still having access to your account via a browser login. But once you decide to go ahead and delete your Facebook account completely, unsurprisingly the site doesn’t make it easy. You’ll be asked if you’d like to temporarily deactivate your account, or even reconsider your choice altogether. Even if you go through with it and check ‘permanently delete’ you’ll get an email informing you that the deletion of your account will begin in 30 days after a cooling-off period. If you hold your nerve for that long – your Facebook account will be gone.
If you get your daily news fix from Facebook, remember there’s a huge volume of misinformation circulating throughout the site. Twitter is a good alternative source for news with a prevalence of verified news accounts regularly posting news updates. And your favourite television and radio news stations are very likely to have their own apps – download them and widen your news gathering.
Deleting Facebook will be tricky if you use it to communicate with older family members who don’t use any other social media platforms. Try and extract the most important information from any family members, or friends, to ensure that you don’t entirely lose touch with them. And if you do? Maybe it says something about your relationship that it was maintained entirely by Facebook?
Remember – no one can force you to quit Facebook and for some people the ‘devil you know’ may be better than some of the alternatives. If you’d rather take smaller steps, have a look through your settings tighten up your privacy and take regular breaks away from the app.