Home Feature news Here's what you need to do before you break up with Facebook

Here’s what you need to do before you break up with Facebook

Let’s be real, we all want to do delete Facebook. But few of us actually ever do, because whether you like to admit it or not, a lot of your life likely relies on Facebook. Whether it’s keeping up with friends’ birthdays, or keeping in touch with a relative who lives across the country, there are a number of factors that probably keep you using the service.

Getting off Facebook is a lot easier said than done. If you’re looking to detach from Facebook but want to keep some of the simple benefits it offers — staying in touch with family, reminiscing over old photos and so on — here are some helpful tips. We’ll also teach you how to delete your Facebook account.

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Download your data

Before you take the big leap into the nothingness of a non-Facebook world, you’re going to want to keep a copy of all your data.

1. In the upper right corner of Facebook, click the arrow.


Credit: Screenshot: Facebook

2. Tap “Settings and Privacy,” then tap “Settings.”

3. Next, tap on the item labeled “Your Facebook Information.”

4. Tap “View” next to “Download Your Information” and select which data you would like to download.

Mashable Image


Credit: SCREENSHOT: FACEBOOK

If you’re curious as to what Facebook means by data, you can find out more here. It includes basic stuff like your old statuses and all the photos you’ve uploaded to your account, but it also means things you may not have known Facebook was collecting, like your political affiliations, associated IP addresses and searches. If all of that is alarming to you, then, yeah, it’s probably time to delete your account.

Organize your memories

If you’re a fan of Facebook’s features that remind you of old memories, you can recreate them yourself — even if it’s a slightly tedious process. When you download your data, Facebook will serve it to you in a giant clump organized by photo and video folders.

Taking the time to sort through it now will make it much easier to sift through down the line, especially when you’re trying to find old photos of old events. Store them on your desktop or an external hard drive and sort them by events, dates, and places. That way you’ll be able to create your own version of the “On This Day” feature that you can peruse whenever you feel so inclined.

Check where you use Facebook as a login


Credit: facebook

Ah yes, you can’t forget all those times you’ve turned to the “Log in with Facebook” option to access an account. Whether it’s for Spotify or Amazon, there are probably a handful of apps or services where you’re using your Facebook as a login.

Luckily there’s a way to check all those places in one spot. Go back to the Settings page and click on the “Apps and Websites” tab to see which services have access to your account. Be sure to set up new logins for each before parting ways with Facebook.

Keep in touch with family and old friends

Let’s be real, we all have those select friends and family who we only communicate with via Facebook. There’s no shame, everyone has them. So before deleting your account, make sure to comb your Friends list to make sure you have the contact information for everyone you want to keep in touch with. Keeping them updated on your life will take a little effort, like, you know, picking up the phone every few days, but the extra effort will let them know you … care.

Be an old and use a physical calendar and journal

This is what a calendar looks like, just in case you didn't know. Latte is not included.

This is what a calendar looks like, just in case you didn’t know. Latte is not included.
Credit: Getty Images/Cultura RF

Yes, there are plenty of friends whose birthdays I only know because I see the little cupcake notification pop up on my feed every morning. And yes, there are plenty of people whose birthdays I’d be completely unaware of if I didn’t get a push notification. But there is a way to keep track of all that stuff sans Facebook.

Just go to the Birthdays tab under your Events page and jot down every single person’s birthday you care about on a physical calendar. Then go to Past tab under the Events menu and make note of any annual event you went to previously and would love to go to again. Sure, this may feel a bit archaic, but it’ll be better in the long run than being bombarded with notifications for people you haven’t seen since high school.

The same goes for the daily element of sharing. If you’re the kind of person who loved to share updates about your life to your friends every day, just jot all that down in a journal. You’ll still be able to sift through all your old thoughts and opinions, and it won’t be combed by any malicious bots.

Make sure to delete, not deactivate, your account

If you’re really looking to break up with Facebook, you’re going to want to make sure that you delete your account instead of deactivating it. They sound similar, but the two are very different.

To delete your account, navigate back to the tab labeled “Your Facebook Information.”

This is where things get tricky. Here, you can deactivate your account, but that gives you the opportunity to return at a later date and keeps your profile visible to others. To completely disembark, you need to delete your account. Follow the steps below.

1. In the upper right corner of Facebook, click the arrow.

2. Tap “Settings and Privacy,” then tap “Settings.”

3. Next, tap on the item labeled “Your Facebook Information.”

4. Click “View” next to “Deactivation and deletion.”

5. Select “Delete account” and follow the steps on the screen.

Mashable Image


Credit: Screenshot: Facebook

If you’re a bit confused about the difference between deactivation and deletion, Facebook has a handy explainer here.

This post was originally published in March 2018 and was updated in November 2021.

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