EXPLAINER

Explainer: How do I delete my Facebook account?

Leaving Facebook will become an increasingly popular option. Picture: Shutterstock
Leaving Facebook will become an increasingly popular option. Picture: Shutterstock

In the wake of Facebook getting rid of news from newsfeeds in Australia, calls have been growing louder for people to ditch their accounts on the social media platform.

Hashtags such as #DeleteFacebook and #BoycottZuckerberg began trending on other social media sites following Thursday's developments.

In protest of the federal government's new media bargaining code legislation, Facebook banned users in Australia from posting or sharing news content, with pages belonging to news outlets taken down.

Australian Community Media, the publisher of this masthead, has publicly urged Australians to ditch the social media platform following Facebook's decision to block news on the service.

While Facebook has been no stranger to calls for users to boycott the platform due to controversies over the years, for many, the tech giant's decision to block news in Australia has been seen as the last straw.

How can you delete your account?

For those who want to take the plunge and ditch their presence on Facebook, there are a couple of ways it can be done.

If you want to delete your account altogether, you can go into settings on Facebook, then click 'Your Facebook Information' and then go into 'Deactivation and Deletion'.

From there, you'll need to confirm the decision to delete your account a couple of times with your user information and password, before the changes are made.

Your account, along with the information on the platform, will be permanently deleted 30 days after the account has been shut down.

What happens after you delete your account?

While access to Facebook will disappear following the deletion of an account, more than just your posts will vanish.

Access to Facebook Messenger will also be deleted, along with any conversations you have had with people on the service.

Messages you have sent to friends from Messenger may still be visible to other people after you have deleted your account.

FOMO is one factor, but what you have to understand is that Facebook has been there for more than 15 years and has become a part of our social life.

Dr Suranga Seneviratne

If you have used Facebook to set up accounts with other services such as Spotify or Pinterest, you may need to contact those apps in order to still use your account.

You will still be able to use other social media platforms owned by Facebook, such as Instagram or WhatsApp, even if you have deleted your Facebook account, however.

Can you still save what you uploaded to Facebook?

If you choose to delete your Facebook account, you can choose to store any posts, videos or cat photos you may have uploaded to the service over the years.

Before the final click is made to delete the account, you can choose to download all of your posts, photos and videos to other platforms such as Dropbox.

To do so, select 'Transfer a Copy of Your Photos' or 'Download Your Information' during the deletion process.

Is there a less nuclear option?

While getting rid of your Facebook account may seem like a good idea following the decision by the tech giant to block news, for some, a complete deletion of a Facebook account may be a drastic step.

However, there are other solutions to taking yourself off Facebook that are less extreme.

One way is to temporarily deactivate your account, where your profile won't be able to be viewed by other Facebook users, but all of your data and posts, videos and photos won't be deleted.

You will still be able to use Facebook Messenger while your account is deactivated, along with a Facebook log-in for other services like Spotify.

Can you change your mind?

It depends on which way you choose to ditch Zuckerberg's social media platform.

If you have elected for the less extreme deactivation option, you can choose to reactivate your account at any point in time.

If you have chosen to completely get rid of Facebook, there is a small window where you can change your mind. Once the account is deleted, you can choose to reinstate your account within 30 days.

After that, all of your information is gone. However, Facebook says it may take as long as 90 days to delete everything you have uploaded to the platform.

Why is getting rid of Facebook so difficult?

While it may be tempting to completely get rid of Facebook following the news ban, experts have said that may be more difficult than first thought.

Partly, it's due to how entrenched social media, and indeed Facebook, is in our lives.

From conversations with friends, to sharing life updates, community groups and even tagging your friends in pointless memes, Facebook has become part of people's daily routine.

Suranga Seneviratne, an expert in social media at the University of Sydney, said the social aspect behind Facebook made getting rid of your presence there difficult.

"It's the fear of missing out from friends, and that's why more people aren't necessarily leaving Facebook immediately," Dr Seneviratne said.

"FOMO is one factor, but what you have to understand is that Facebook has been there for more than 15 years and has become a part of our social life, and that is quite essential for many people.

"It's the social networking effect, and having discussions with people online and seeing developments with people's lives, and any other service built off Facebook is based around that."

Dr Seneviratne said some people would choose to leave Facebook but the majority would stay online. "For Facebook, what matters would be is if their core and active users will leave or stay on the platform," he said.

This story How do I delete my Facebook account? first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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