How to Make a Clean Break With the Clingiest Social Networks
Social networks walk a fine line between being a useful tool and a crippling addiction. Whether you want your free time back, or don’t like your information scattered about on the Internet, you may be considering deactivating some accounts. Coming to this conclusion 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, many have made it complicated to delete your account. But if you are set on getting rid of them, here’s what you’ll have to do.
You’ve had your Facebook account for about a decade and in that time you’ve posted a little too much personal information. Maybe you’re just sick of all the baby pictures and slightly offensive status updates your friends are sharing. 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 it’s not visible, your account information is still intact on Facebook’s servers, eagerly awaiting your return.
Deactivating your account is as easy as going into your settings, clicking Security, and then “Deactivate your account.” But finding the delete option is harder. The easiest way to delete your account is by clicking the lock icon in the top-right corner, then the search icon, then typing “delete account.” This will bring you to the page where you delete your account. There’s more help here.
Once you fill out the form on this page, Facebook will permanently delete your account. However, they don’t do this until 14 days after you submit your request. You know, in case you change your mind.
If you decide to get rid of your Facebook account, you may want to download your account information before you delete it. The information downloaded includes everything from the photos and statuses you post, to the ads you’ve clicked and 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 > General Account Settings > Download a copy of your Facebook data and then click “Start My Archive.” 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 act fast.
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 to delete it.
Like Facebook, navigating through Instagram’s settings will only give you the option of temporarily disabling your account. If you want to get rid of your account for good, you’ll have to enter “https://instagram.com/accounts/remove/request/permanent/” into your URL. Once you do that, enter in your password and click “Permanently delete my account.”
In the past, Instagram users have reported that they are prompted to enter in their phone number when deleting their account. Luckily, it seems like this is no longer necessary.
It can take a lot of time and effort to maintain a properly manicured Twitter account, but the good news is that deleting your account doesn’t require as much work.
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 those unanswered tweets at celebrities. To download your archive, click your profile icon, then hit Settings, then “Request your archive.” It’ll take some time for Twitter to get your archive ready, but when it is, you’ll be sent an email with a download link that will give you a .zip file.
Once you have your downloaded copy, you can proceed with deleting your account. Log in to your Twitter, go into your Account Settings, then scroll to the bottom and click “Deactivate my account.” After that, you’ll be prompted to enter your password, and once you do so your account will be deactivated.
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, a good place to start is on the company’s support page. From there you’ll be able to find the necessary form for deleting your account. Shortcuts for these forms can be found here for LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.