Closing a Facebook account is a fairly straightforward process. Keeping it closed, however, might be a bit more difficult than you expect. Here are some things to keep in mind when you're trying to close the account:
Preparing to Close Your Facebook Account
Facebook has become the default method of communication for keeping in touch with friends for over five million people. At the same time, there have been many very valid concerns about privacy, selling your information and other risks. Many people have decided to close their Facebook accounts and move to other social networks such as Twitter and Google Buzz.
Regardless of the reason you want to close your account there are a few things you may want to do before pulling the plug.
Let People Know
You may want to leave a message on your status bar for a while before pulling the plug: "Closing this account soon! If you want to keep in touch, send a message for contact info!" That way the people who really do care about you can be sure to stay in touch. There are many other sites with less controversy about their usage of your information, such as Diaspora, where you can continue to be social on the web.
Do You Need the Info?
If you want to keep the memories of Facebook without actually being on the site, you can download a complete backup of your entire profile. Click on "Account" from your main page, and then on "Account Settings" on the drop-down menu. This will give an option to "Download your information."
Get Rid of "Connect" Sites
In order to really delete your information, you have to make sure that nothing uses your Facebook login for any reason. You will need to check what "Facebook Connect" sites you might have attached to your account. Log in to your other social sites using an alternative method (such as username and password) and that will disconnect your Facebook login from that account. Sites such as CitySearch and Formspring are examples of sites that would need to be checked. You would also need to make sure to delete the Facebook account from any chat clients on your computer such as Adium and Twitter.
Are You Really Sure?
Keep in mind that deletion is an extreme step. It's only meant for people who are absolutely certain that they are never going to use Facebook again. If you simply want a "break" from Facebook, you can use the less draconian measure of "deactivating" your account. Again on your "Account Settings" page, there is a "deactivate" link on the bottom. This immediately removes all of your information from appearing on the Facebook site. No one can look at it, no one can even search for it. However, it is still stored on the servers, and you can choose to reactivate it when you like by simply logging in again.
If you're sure that complete deletion is what you want, the actual process is even more simple than deactivation or backing up.
As Simple as a Click
After you've taken care of all the prep work, it's time to actually tell Facebook that you want to delete your account.
- Go to the Facebook Help Center and scroll down to "How do I permanently delete my account?"
- In the paragraphs that warn you of the process, there is a link to "submit your request here." Click it.
- A simple dialogue will open up, warning you that this will get rid of everything forever. If you're still sure, click on "submit."
That's all there is to it, as long as you take care of one final step.
Don't Log In Again. Ever.
In actuality, it takes two weeks for your information to actually disappear from the Facebook server. If, during that time, you or some application logs in for any reason, then your account is considered active and you'll have to start over again. If you are really wanting to stay off of the Facebook servers, you need to make sure you don't just check on your friends out of habit.
Cut All Connections
Sometimes people are so involved with Facebook that it takes several tries to actually extricate all of their social networks from the site. Be patient and be diligent in cutting all the connections and you will be able to close your Facebook account completely.