How to Permanently Delete Your Facebook Account

A hand throws away a facebook branded wad of paper. - Illustration: Elena Lacey; Getty Images

How to Permanently Delete Your Facebook Account
WIRED, October, 11, 2021
By Brian Barrett

“If you’ve finally hit your breaking point, here’s how to say goodbye to Mark Zuckerberg’s empire.”


There’s never a bad time to delete your Facebook account: Chances are good you use it less than ever, and every time you do log on you’re greeted by a slurry of reheated viral news and life updates from two or three distant acquaintances. Now, though, feels like an especially good time to pull the plug.


There’s the ongoing series of Wall Street Journal stories that claim the company repeatedly ignored internal research about the various harms its products cause. There’s the prolonged outage that made you think maybe so much of the world’s internet activity shouldn’t run through a single company. And there’s the general sense that Facebook is probably, on the whole, not so great for society. At a certain point it’s too much, you know? If you’ve reached that point, here’s how to quit Facebook for good, along with how to limit how much it can track you after you’re gone.

How to Deactivate Your Facebook Account

Let’s establish first that there are a few things you can do that feel like deleting your Facebook account that are, in fact, not that. Deleting the app from your phone? Cathartic, maybe, but functionally useless. Deactivating your Facebook account? A little better, in that you mostly disappear from the platform, but it still holds onto all your data, waiting patiently and indefinitely for your return.


[caveat emptor:] Deactivation doesn’t accomplish all that much in practice. [So read the full article to find out more.]

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About the Author:

Brian Barrett is Executive Editor, News at WIRED, overseeing day to day coverage across the site. Prior to WIRED he was the editor in chief of the tech and culture site Gizmodo and was a business reporter for the Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan’s largest daily newspaper.