Facebook makes it a little tricky to remove your personal data from their social network, instead prompting users to disable their account. This keeps all your stuff online, so you can sign back in and reactivate your account instantly.
But that's not always what you want – particularly if you want to become undiscoverable, or remove yourself from friends lists, groups and invites.
The first step towards deleting your account is making sure you're not going to lose anything important.
Helpfully, Facebook has provided a way to download a backup of your posts, photos, messages and more, so you won't have to worry about losing wedding photos or your favourite conversations.
Just follow the instructions below to find out how – but bear in mind, this can only be done through an internet browser, and not through the Facebook app for smartphones.
Open your web browser and go to www.facebook.com.
If prompted, sign in with your current Facebook details.
Click on the down arrow to the right of the question mark (?) button in the top-right corner of the page.
Choose Settings from the drop-down menu.
At the bottom of the General Account Settings page, click the link for Download a copy of your Facebook data.
You will now see a description of what’s included with your Facebook backup. Read through the list to find out what's being saved, then click Start My Archive to continue the backup process.
Enter your Facebook password to confirm your identity, then click Submit.
You’ll now be warned that this process can take a while to finish. Click Start My Archive again. You’ll be emailed by Facebook once the archive is ready to download.
Generally, Facebook prefers you to ‘deactivate’, rather than delete, your account. This is about as effective as simply not signing into Facebook anymore – which has left a few people confused about why their 'deactivated' account is still visible to their friends.
Fortunately, there's a somewhat hidden option to totally delete your account, and unless you sign back in within 14 days, all your Facebook data will be removed. This can take anywhere between 30 to 90 days – but once it's gone, it's gone.
You can delete your Facebook account through the app or from the website. Deleting your account from the website is much quicker than browsing through the app, so follow the steps below to shut down your account.
Open up an internet browser, either on your phone or a computer.
In the address bar (or search box), type in www.facebook.com/help/delete_account and press Enter.
You will be asked to sign into Facebook, or to confirm your password if you’re already signed in. Make sure your details are correct, and that your account is signed in, before you continue.
After signing in, you'll be taken to a new webpage which will confirm your account is being deleted.
If you change your mind and want your account back, you have up to 14 days to sign back into Facebook and interrupt the process. After this time, your data is lost – and you'll have to create a whole new account to use Facebook again.