How to Delete Your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok

Breaking up is hard to do, especially when it’s with one of those oh-so-clingy social networks. Harder yet when there’s a deactivation period.

SOCIAL NETWORKS WALK a fine line between being a useful tool and a crippling addiction. They’re also fraught with critics, who say that they damage our personal privacy and can convey misinformation. Whether you want your free time back or don’t like your personal info scattered about on the internet, you may be considering deactivating some accounts.

Wanting to delete your account is one thing, but actually being able to hit the delete button is another story. Social media outlets make money off of you and your information, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they don’t want to let you go. Because of this, the biggest networks have made it overly complicated to delete your account. But if you are set on getting rid of them, here’s what you’ll have to do.

Speaking of privacy, now is as good a time as any to consider a VPN, which can shield your internet activity from corporations and would-be hackers. We’ve tested a bunch and compiled a list of favorites.

Updated in June 2020: We’ve updated this guide to reflect the most current methods for leaving major social media platforms. We’ve also added TikTok.Facebook

You’ve had your Facebook account for ages, and in that time maybe you’ve posted a little too much personal information. Maybe you’re just sick of all the slightly offensive status updates your friends are sharing or you have some questions about the ethics of using the service at all. Either way, you’ve had enough.

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 Settings and Privacy. Then click Your Facebook Information. From there, click on Deactivation and Deletion and choose Deactivate Account. Finally, click Continue to Account Deactivation and follow the instructions onscreen.

Now, to permanently delete your account, you’ll need to learn where the delete option resides. From the same Deactivation and Deletion menu listed above, choose Delete Account, then click Continue to Account Deletion. Enter your password, click Continue, and then click Delete Account. It’s worth noting that the actual deletion of all your data and information will take a couple days.

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 it will cancel your request if you log into your account during that time. 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.

If you want to delete your account but don’t want to lose all your account information, download all your crucial data first. The information you can download includes everything from the photos and statuses you post, to the ads you’ve clicked and the IP addresses you’ve used. The list of what’s included is extensive, but you can view it in its entirety here. Also, due to the nature of this data, you’ll want to keep it in a safe place.

To download your account, go into Settings > Your Facebook Information > Download Your Information. When your download is ready, Facebook will send you an email with a link to download. For added security, this link will expire after a few days, so download it quickly.Instagram

Even though it’s such a mobile-first service, Instagram doesn’t let you delete your account through the app. Instead, you’ll have to log into your Instagram account via the web in order to delete it.

Like Facebook, navigating through Instagram’s settings will only give you the option to temporarily disable your account. Disabling your account will hide your profile, photos, likes, and comments from the platform. Find the disable option by clicking the person icon in the top right corner and selecting Edit Profile. At the bottom of the page, you’ll see the option to temporarily disable your account.

To get rid of it for good, enter this URL into your browser’s address bar: https://instagram.com/accounts/remove/request/permanent. Once you’re on that page, enter your password and click Permanently Delete My Account.

In the past, Instagram users have reported that they are prompted to enter their phone number when deleting their account. Luckily, it seems like this is no longer necessary.TikTok

Tired of watching teens do stupid things online? Worried about your privacy and the service’s ownership? It might be time to hang up your TikTok account. Doing so is actually very easy. Just open the app, click on the Me section on the bottom right. From there, click Manage My Account, followed by Delete My Account. A few onscreen messages will confirm your choice.Twitter

It takes a lot of time and effort to maintain a well-curated Twitter account, but the good news is that deleting your account doesn’t require as much work.

Before you delete your Twitter account, you may want to download your archive. This will include all your tweets in a chronological order, which is great if you want to relive your first tweet, or see all those unanswered tweets you sent to celebrities. To download your archive, click your profile icon, go to Settings, then click on Account, followed by Your Twitter Data. From there, you can input your password to download all of your data.

Once you have your downloaded copy, you can proceed with deleting your account. Log in to your Twitter, go into your account settings, then scroll to the bottom and click Deactivate My Account. After that, you’ll be prompted to enter your password, and once you do so your account will be deactivated.

Keep in mind that your data isn’t actually deleted for another 30 days. This window gives you the opportunity to revive your account if you choose. Once the 30-day period is up, Twitter will begin deleting your account. According to the company’s Privacy Policy, this could take a few weeks.Snapchat

Maybe you’re sick of seeing who’s besties with who according to the app’s Friend Emoji guide. Maybe you’re one of many Snapchat users converting to Instagram or TikTok, despite Snapchat’s radically different function. In any case, if you decide to delete your Snapchat account, here’s how.

Go to the company’s Accounts Portal and type in the username and password of the account you want to delete. It will be deactivated for 30 days, then permanently deleted after that.The Rest

While there are a lot of social media sites out there, few are as sticky as the ones mentioned above. If you are looking to delete any of your numerous accounts, the best places to start are in your user settings or on the company’s support/FAQ page. From there you’ll be able to find the necessary path to deleting your account. Shortcuts for these web forms can be found here for LinkedIn and Pinterest.

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