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How to deactivate or delete your Facebook account – or just hide its irritations

Social Media

How to deactivate or delete your Facebook account – or just hide its irritations

Facebook can get pretty tedious, very quickly. The ‘enthusiasts’ sharing the same viral videos, the same ‘inspiring’ quotes and the same fake outrage at some political pronouncement or other. It can drive the most patient of social surfers to the brink.

If that’s you, you have three choices – moderate your own feeds, deactivate or, ultimately, delete – and go and do something else with your time instead.

Try moderating first. Take out the irritating content and people, before pressing the Big Button.

Look at your friends list. How many of them do you actually know or even want to hear from? Give yourself a basic principle – ‘unfriend’ people you never speak to and wouldn’t recognise if you saw them in the street. Take out the ones you added in the day when you thought having a lot of friends was important, and fed your ego.

Remember too that you can block people (and applications) you’re not so keen on. You might also want to use the sort of utility that edits your newsfeed for you. Social Fixer, for example, lets you hide other people’s posts by keyword, author, or application/provider and can hide viral content, if you’re keen on having different conversational prompts than the rest of the world.

It may still be getting too much for you, but before you press the Big Button, consider first, the slightly safer option of deactivation. This isn’t quite so drastic – more of a flounce than a deletion.  To get it done, just log on,  go to the Settings menu and click Security in the menu on the left. This will bring up the Security Settings page. Click on the text at the bottom, where it says “Deactivate your account”.  You’ll absent yourself from Facebook, but you can still change your mind…

That may not be enough. The time may come when you want to erase your Facebook life.

Facebook will help, there’s a page for that: How do I permanently delete my account?, where they also advise you to download a copy of your Facebook data (since it’ll be lost when you delete, and you just never know…). You can do that by logging into Facebook, clicking the down arrow, and selecting Settings. Click the bottom entry that says “Download a copy of your Facebook data”.

If you’re ready to take the plunge and do the Big Delete, then log on and go to Delete my account page and, as you’d expect, choose the button that says “Delete my account”.

Once that’s done, no-one can see your Facebook information (although it may linger on Facebook servers for a while), but any messages you’ve sent to other people will remain in their accounts. Your ghost will linger.

But you will be free.

Jimmy Leach is a digital consultant, working with governments, organisations and people. He tweets at @JimmyTLeach

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