There are a various reasons why you might want to delete your social media accounts. You may miss the days of anonymity, you might want to reclaim your privacy from companies, or maybe you just aren’t interested in the platform any more.
Whatever your reasons, there are several ways to delete your social media accounts. From traditional avenues to useful tools, here’s an in-depth look at how to delete your social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Deleting Accounts Through the Platforms
All of the major social media sites allows you to deactivate or delete accounts. However, how easy this process is to complete depends on the site. In fact, BackgroundChecks.org provides a directory called JustDelete.Me that lists how easy or difficult it is to delete an account across different platforms.
Whether the negative effects of social media have got you down, or you just want to improve your online privacy, here’s how to delete your accounts on the major social media platforms…
How to Delete Facebook
Facebook provides two options for getting rid of your account and profile: by either deactivating it or deleting your account completely.
As the wording implies, the first option is an account deactivation and not technically a deletion. It leaves you the option to restore your account at a later date, meaning that your data is still stored somewhere.
To deactivate your Facebook account, go to Settings > Your Facebook Information and select Your Facebook Information. Choose Deactivation and Deletion and then select the option to Deactivate Account. Click the Continue to Account Deactivation button to launch the process.
Deactivating your account disables your profile and removes your name and photos from posts you’ve shared. Other people won’t be able to find your account when they search for it on Facebook. However, your name might still appear in posts from others. Your messages with others will likely also continue to exist.
Furthermore, your Messenger account stays active too—but you can deactivate Facebook Messenger separately.
The second option is permanently deleting your Facebook account. According to Facebook, this means your account cannot be restored. To delete your Facebook account permanently, go to Settings > Your Facebook Information and select Your Facebook Information. Choose Deactivation and Deletion and select the option to Delete Account. Then click on the Continue to account deletion button to proceed.
The process of deleting your data takes 90 days. This removes much of the same information that deactivating your account does, but removes this data permanently. You will also no longer be able to use Facebook Messenger. However, certain data, like messages in other people’s inboxes, cannot be deleted.
How to Delete Twitter
Deleting your account on Twitter requires you to first deactivate it. After 30 days, the account is deleted completely.
To delete your Twitter account, click on the menu icon with three dots to the left of your Twitter homepage and select the Settings and privacy option. At the bottom of this page, you will see the option to Deactivate your account.
Twitter will then take you to a confirmation menu. To confirm that you want to delete or deactivate your Twitter account, click Deactivate.
According to the company, your data will only be stored for 30 days. During this time you will be able to reactivate and restore your account. Once the 30-day period is complete, your data and account are permanently deleted.
How to Delete Instagram
Instagram lets you to either temporarily disable or permanently delete your account.
To disable your Instagram account, go to your Settings menu and select Edit Profile. At the bottom of the page, you will see a link to Temporarily disable my account.
This essentially hides your account and allows you to reactivate it at a later date.
To completely and permanently delete your Instagram account, you need to sign in on Instagram through your web browser and use the Delete Your Account request link. You will then need to re-enter your password. Finally, click on Permanently delete my account to remove your Instagram account from the platform.
This option removes your account permanently—with no option to reactivate or recover your account and photos.
How to Delete Snapchat
You can delete your Snapchat account using the Snapchat account portal. This webpage allows you to manage your data and apps, but more importantly, gives you the option to delete your account.
Simply open the webpage, log into Snapchat and select Delete My Account. This will take you to a page explaining the deactivation process. Like Twitter, once 30 days have passed, your account will be permanently deleted.
To confirm that you would like to delete your Snapchat account, you need to re-enter your username and password, then select Continue.
Websites That Help You Delete Social Media Accounts
There are certain websites dedicated to helping you delete your social media presence. From sites that send account deletion requests on your behalf to sites that give you instructions to delete accounts, here are some websites you can use…
Deseat.me uses either your Google account or your Outlook account to generate a list of your online and social media accounts. It then gives you the option to sort through and delete these accounts.
A great aspect of the service is the sheer extent of what it covers. It will find accounts linked to your email that you have long forgotten about. It also identifies newsletters that you can choose to unsubscribe from.
However, Deseat.me requires access to your emails to do this, which can be a dealbreaker for many users. If you do choose to use the tool, we recommend immediately revoking access once you are done cleaning up your social media accounts. We would also not recommend using this service for email accounts with sensitive content.
When you select an account for deletion, Deseat.me generates a data removal request that it sends from your email address to the relevant platform.
The option to request removal is not available for all accounts. Deseat.me will note whether this option is unavailable and provide instructions for how to delete an account on the specific platform.
More Websites to Help Delete Your Social Media Accounts
These sites don’t require any permissions since they don’t access your specific accounts. Rather, they aggregate account deactivation links for various websites. You will need to search for specific sites relevant to you.
Are Some Social Media Profiles Impossible to Delete?
According to JustDeleteMe, there are some profiles that are impossible to delete. Luckily for social media users, none of these impossible sites are among the major public social media platforms. Most websites now support account deletion due to GDPR regulations and other privacy laws.
Netflix, for example, now lets users request earlier deletion of a canceled account via email. It now also automatically deletes accounts that have been canceled for over 10 months.
Other sites that previously didn’t include a delete option, such as Pinterest and Steam, have now also introduced this functionality.
How to Do a Social Media Detox
If deleting accounts permanently feels a bit too drastic, you can choose to take a break from social media instead. This helps you get away from the pressures and adverse effects of certain platforms without losing data that you’ll want to use again one day.
To find out how to do this effectively, take a look at our guide detailing how to do a social media detox.