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How can I leave Facebook?

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Thumbs down: Facebook has infuriated many users

With revelations that Cambridge Analytica allegedly used Facebook data to influence elections, people are asking whether now is the time to leave Facebook. #DeleteFacebook is trending on Twitter and even the BBC News website is debating the subject.

But before you do the full deed and delete everything on Facebook, there are alternatives:

Disconnect your apps

Did you know that every time one of your Facebook friends does one of those quizzes or personality tests your profile information is highly likely to be shared? To stop this from happening, on the Facebook website head to Settings and then Apps. Find the section named ‘Apps others use’ and click on the ‘Edit’ button. You can now change what information will be shared.


And what about all of those sites and apps that you use Facebook to sign into? They will also be privy to your profile information, so you may want to consider disconnecting them. On the Facebook website, head to Settings and then Apps once again. This time you’re looking for all the items listed under “Logged in with Facebook”. Click the “X” next to each in turn to remove their connection.

Disconnect yourself

If you have the willpower, why not try to simply not use Facebook? Restrict or remove any personal data from your profile, unsubscribe from emails, delete the app from your phone and walk away. Nothing has been lost but you can still return to if you need to. However, I suspect few will actually do this. In this case your next best option may be to…

Deactivate your Facebook account

Less than the full deletion, this will suspend your account. People won’t be able to find your or your content, but if you ever wish to return, you can restore your account back to how it was.

To do this, just head to facebook.com/deactivate.

Oh, and don’t forget that this (and the full deletion option) will mean you can’t use Facebook Messenger, either.

Delete your account

Yes, this is the full “get me out of here, I never want to return” approach. All of your content will be deleted, never to be seen again. But, before you do that, you may want to consider downloading all your existing content (particularly the photos). Go to Settings and then, on the first page that greets you, you should see the following:

Click on the blue link to grab all the goodies before they’re gone.

To delete your account go to facebook.com/help/delete_account.

Where next?

Now you’ve left Facebook how will you keep friends and family up-to-date with your latest pictures of little Johnny and chat with them online? Instagram and WhatsApp are likely choices but just remember that these too are owned by Facebook. If it’s a true break from Zuckerberg that you’re seeking, you’ll need to try harder. Why not let us know your favourite alternatives in the comments below?



About the author

David Artiss

Works for Automattic Inc., the company behind WordPress.com and Tumblr. Tech geek, international speaker and occasional PC Pro podcaster. Lover of Lego and video games.

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