November 4, 2013 | Emily Winsauer

Is It Possible to Delete a Facebook Account?

If you’ve found this post, chances are you’ve already tried and failed to get rid of your Facebook page.

That’s completely understandable, because like a clingy, manipulative ex, Facebook makes it really difficult to leave. However, unlike your clingy ex, there’s really nothing you can do to cut ties with Facebook. Except die. And even then, they still have final approval.

2015 Update: there's now a Facebook Legacy Contact setting, which I'll discuss further below.

So what options do you have if you’re moving to Bora Bora and don’t want to be on Facebook anymore? Read on…

Technically, you can’t delete your profile, but...

You can deactivate your profile, though it will automatically reactivate if you log in again.

When you try to deactivate, Facebook pulls out all the stops to keep you from leaving – it literally shows you pictures of your friends, says they will miss you, and includes links to send them messages, probably so your friends can talk you out of it.

Here's how to make it through the gauntlet:

  1. How to Delete a Facebook AccountClick on the sprocket-looking thing on the far right to see a drop-down menu, and then select Account Settings.
  2. In the left-hand sidebar, select Security.
  3. At the very bottom of the Security Settings, beneath the main list, is Deactivate Your Account – click on the link and brace yourself.
  4. Ignore the top of the screen, in case a picture of your grandmother is up there with the heading “Nana will miss you.”
  5. Select a reason for leaving, or enter your reason in the text field.Reason for Leaving Facebook
  6. If you are the sole admin of any pages, Facebook gives you the Edit Admin option to create other admins. If you do not, the page will deactivate along with your profile and will no longer be accessible to Facebook users.
  7. Decide whether to opt out of future emails, which applies to notifications. After you deactivate, your friends can still tag you in pictures and invite you to join groups and events. If you opt out, you will not receive these notifications, but your friends may not know you didn’t get them.
  8. Click the Confirm button and rejoice! You’re now free to only be friends with people in real life.

Deactivate Your Facebook Page

Just keep in mind that if you log back in for any reason, Facebook will reactivate your account.

However, you CAN delete a business page.

If you need to take down a business page, you have two options: delete or unpublish.

Unpublishing a Facebook page means that admins will be able to see the page, but the public will not.

Deleting a Facebook page can become permanent after a 14-day waiting period. Within that time, you can choose to restore the page at any point. After the two weeks have passed, you will be asked to confirm that you want to delete it permanently. At that time, the page will be deleted for good and you will not be able to recover it. Essentially, you have to wait longer to delete a Facebook business page than you do to purchase a firearm in most states.

To delete or unpublished a Facebook business page:

  1. Click on the Settings sprocket in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. At the top of the drop-down list will be the text “Use Facebook as:” followed by the pages for which you are an admin. Select the one you want to delete.
  3. On the business page’s Admin Panel, select Edit Page and then Edit Settings.
  4. If you want to unpublish, select Page Visibility (the first option), tick the box to unpublish the page, and save your changes.Page Visibility Unpublish
  5. If you want to delete, select the last option on that list, Remove Page, and select the link to delete the page. You will see this pop up:Delete Facebook Business Page
  6. Click to on the Delete Page button. Facebook also gives you the option at this point to unpublish the page, and to do so you just need to tick the box labeled “Unpublish this page.” and click Cancel.

On a serious note, if a loved one has died, there are several options for handling their Facebook page.

If you are the family member of someone who has died and you would like to know what to do about their Facebook profile, you have several options.

Facebook’s policy is to “memorialize” the page, which is intended to protect the person’s privacy while preserving his or her Facebook timeline and allowing friends and family to leave public and private messages for the deceased.

2015 Update:

Ideally, the person has designated a Facebook Legacy Contact, who will have limited ability to manage the account after the person has passed away.

The legacy contact will be able to write a memorial post and pin it to the top of the deceased's timeline, respond to friend requests, and update the profile and cover photos. Depending on the deceased's settings, they may also be able to download the photo archive, posts, and profile information, thought they cannot log in or post as the deceased or read the deceased's private messages.

Facebook Legacy Contact

However, the legacy contact won't have this access until the account has been memorialized by Facebook upon the request of a loved one. Memorializing an account also adds the word "Remembering" over his or her name.

If you choose to add a legacy contact to your own Facebook profile, you can do so through Settings > Security. This also allows you to select the option to request that your account be permanently deleted if you pass away instead of having your account memorialized.

Having trouble? Let us know in the comments and we'll do our best to help!

Download Our Facebook Business Page Checklist


Emily Winsauer

Emily Winsauer

As VIEO's content director, Emily Winsauer was responsible for content strategy for VIEO and our clients for over 5 years. She recently moved to Seattle where she's still creating compelling content in her new role.

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