Tech Guide

How to deactivate your Facebook account, and what happens next

Key Points
  • I just deactivated my Facebook account
  • I think the product Facebook offers — its core social network — isn't very attractive anymore
  • I'll walk you through how to do the same

I just deactivated my Facebook account.

It wasn't a snap decision, but a culmination of a lot of things that peaked with some of the revelations about how the Russians used the platform to spread targeted ads and widen political divisions in the U.S. during the last presidential election.

I also found that the product is no longer the one I used to love — the one I found useful in college to learn more about friends I was meeting and whether we shared classes.

Instead, it seems more like a wasteland of political opinion, memes and cartoons I don't find interesting and snippets of video I have no interest in watching. It's become an outlet for opinion and random entertainment instead of a place to connect with other people.

There are some things I'll miss. I've found Facebook useful for managing my social life, particularly with the invites to events that other Facebook friends are attending. I'm willing to give that up for now, though, and maybe it'll help me learn to reach out to people more directly, like over the phone, instead of with a quick "like" on a post or an automatic "happy birthday" comment.

If you're like me and want to do the same, here's how:

Tap the drop-down menu on the top right of your Facebook page and select settings

Todd Haselton | CNBC

You'll see a page with all sorts of settings. You should spend time exploring them, even if you're not planning to delete your Facebook account. There's a lot you can learn about what Facebook knows about you, like advertisers you've interacted with.

Tap the General button

Tap the General tab at the top of the screen
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This should be the default page you land on anyway. The good news is you don't have to dig through menus to deactivate your account.

Select "Manage Account"

Choose "edit" under Manage Account
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This is at the very bottom of the General Account Settings Page. Look for the entry, "modify your legacy contact settings or deactivate your account."

Tap "Deactivate your account"

Tap deactivate. This won't be the first time.
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Now you'll deactivate your account. This means you won't be available to friend people, and your friends will no longer see you as an active user.

However, pictures of you that other people have snapped and uploaded will remain.

Explain why

Explain why you're leaving. Then tap deactivate again.
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Facebook will try to keep you, suggesting friends will miss you (for their privacy, I've removed the image that shows my friend from this post). You'll also be required to input why you've decided to leave. Tap "Deactivate."

Are you sure?

Yes! I'm sure!
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Facebook will ask one more time if you're sure you want to delete your account. If so, tap "Deactivate Now" on the pop up one last time.

That's it

Now you're done. You'll end up back on Facebook's login screen.

Keep in mind that this removes you from the social network but won't stop you if you have a serious Facebook addiction. All you have to do is log back in and everything will be restored again.

You should also know that deactivating your Facebook account doesn't deactivate your Facebook login or wipe you out of Facebook's memory banks forever. You will still be able to use other Facebook services such as Instagram and Facebook Messenger.

As long as your Instagram account is still live, you're also abiding by Instagram's privacy policy, which gives it the right to anonymously track personal information, including websites you visit, so that advertisers can better target you.

Want something more permanent? You can completely delete your account by requesting that directly from Facebook.