Closing Facebook and LinkedIn accounts

Yesterday I closed my Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. I got both accounts a long time ago but never actively used either of them in the sense that I never posted any content on them. They were just passive accounts that others used to tell me what they were doing, which most of the time was of no interest to me. I had been pondering cutting ties for a long time but never got around to it. So while my closing of my Facebook account was not out of anger at the recent disclosures about its practices, I don’t mind if the company thinks that is the reason for closing it.

The recent furor over how Facebook treats its users’ personal information has resulted in sites telling you how to close your accounts and it was this helpful information that made me decide to close them. This article was helpful in walking you step-by-step through the process of closing Facebook and other social networking sites. It turns out, not surprisingly, that they do not make it easy for you to do so and resort to all manner of techniques to pressure you to keep them.

In their guide, Gordon Gottsegen and Jessie Colt say that ‘deactivating’ your account is not the same as deleting it.

If you’ve ever deactivated your account, you may have noticed that everything goes back to normal the next time you log in, as if nothing has happened. That’s because deactivating your Facebook account is not the same as deleting it. When you deactivate your account, you are just hiding your information from searches and your Facebook friends. Although nothing is visible on the site, your account information remains intact on Facebook’s servers, eagerly awaiting your return.

Even so, deactivating your account is still a complex process. Go into your settings and click General. At the bottom, you’ll find Manage your Account. From there, click on “Deactivate your account” and type in your password. Before you’re completely off the hook, Facebook shows you photos of all the “friends” you’ll miss (“Callie will miss you”, “Phoebe will miss you”, “Ben will miss you”) followed by a survey asking you to detail your reasons for leaving. Get through that, click Deactivate, and you’re good to go.

Now, to permanently delete your account, you’ll need to learn where the delete option resides. The easiest way to find it is by clicking the “Quick Help” icon in the top-right corner, then the “Search” icon. When you see the search field, type “delete account.” You’ll see a list of search results. Click on “How do I permanently delete my account?” and Facebook will give you the obscure instructions to “log into your account and let us know.” In this case, “let us know” is code for “delete my account,” so click on that link. From here, the final steps are clear: Enter your password and solve the security captcha, and your request to permanently delete your account is underway.

Yes, you read that right—it’s just a request. Facebook delays the deletion process for a few days after you submit your request, and will cancel your request if you log into your account during that time period. You know, just in case you change your mind. It’s crucial that you don’t visit Facebook during this waiting period. Delete the app from your phone.

They tell you how to download your information before deleting it, which I did not care about. They also tell you to how to delete your Instagram, Twitte, and Snapchat accounts.

I followed the instructions and am now Facebook-free, so bye Felicia! Closing LinkedIn was easy.


  1. says

    I should mention that, even if you “delete” your account, it’s not actually, you know, deleted. It can be re-activated. Worse, if you leave it ‘deleted’ for a couple years someone else can come along and re-activate it and take it over after 4 years.

    I discovered that the last time I took a 5 year break from facebook. Rather amazingly, it allowed me to re-activate the account using just my google ID (because the corporate address I created the account from was long gone)

  2. lanir says

    I picked up LinkedIn for job searching at one point. A recruiter strongly recommended it. But after signing up and being spammed for several months, I investigated why the site kept bothering me. Turns out there are two “don’t email me” settings and the easy to find one doesn’t stop them from sending most of their junk mail to users. You need to find another one that’s fairly well hidden.

    I debated for a couple months after but ended up deleting that account. If the whole point is to use the portal to present myself to prospective employers, why on earth would I want my lead-in to be spammy, shady business practices?

  3. Reginald Selkirk says

    I have always considered LinkedIn to be a ‘bad actor’ and never signed up. I hated the way they would discover an obscure link between myself and some LinkedIn user, then spam me that ‘so-and-so wants you to sign up for LinkedIn’ when that other person is entirely unaware of what is going on. Legitimate companies shouldn’t act that way.

  4. says

    I don’t use my full name on Facebook, just shortened forms of my first and middle names. When the time comes to delete it, I’ll just inform them of this and let them freeze the account.

  5. Mobius says

    Thanks for the info, Mano. I, too, have a Facebook account but never use it. The only reason I got it was to contact family members that I had lost touch with when my mother died. I really need to shut down that account.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *