How to: delete your Facebook account, and adjust key privacy settings

Facebook is embroiled in an ongoing row over privacy. Here, we talk you through some of the key things you need to do to manage your Facebook account.

By Claudine Beaumont, Technology Editor of The UK’s Telegraph Online.

Facebook’s privacy policy is a whopping 5,830 words long. As the New York Times recently pointed out, the Constitution of the United States is just 4,543. In recent months, Facebook has made revisions to its privacy policy that makes a growing amount of information public by default; users must opt out if they want to keep their information private, or share it only with a trusted group of friends.

The changes have caused something of a backlash among both the user community and the technology industry, with some commentators questioning whether these changes are the thin end of the edge, and may even result in users leaving the social-networking site in their droves.

Committing “Facebook suicide”, as it’s known, is a very drastic option. Facebook, to its credit, does allow users to have complete control over their profiles and the way their personal information is shared – but you do need to plough through 50 different settings and around 170 different options if you want to control every single aspect of your account. Here, we look at how to deactivate and delete your Facebook account – and the difference between the two – as well as how to lockdown some of the most important privacy settings on your profile:

Deactivating your Facebook account

Deactivating your account simply involves going on a temporary hiatus; it does not permanently delete your personal information. If you deactivate your account, you immediately become invisible to other Facebook users, who will no longer be able to access your profile. However, Facebook “saves” your profile on file, so that if you choose to reactivate your account in future, then all of your friends, photos, lists of interests, games and other preferences, are automatically restored so your account looks just as it did before you deactivated it.

Deactivating an account is fairly simple: when you’re logged in to Facebook, click on the Account tab on the top right-hand side of the page. From the drop-down list, select “Account Settings”. The final option on the page is “Deactivate” – click on the link to be taken through to the deactivation page. Facebook tries to tempt you in to reconsidering, telling you that your friends “will no longer be able to keep in touch with you”; it also asks you to say why you are deactivating your account. At the foot of the page is box that allows you to opt out of receiving future emails from Facebook – if you do not tick this box, then you will continue to receive email notifications every time a former Facebook friend tags you in a photo, invites you to an event, or asks you to join a group. Ticking the box means you will no longer receive these messages.

To reactivate your Facebook account, log in to the site using your usual email address and password. You will then be sent an email to that address containing a link which, when clicked, restores your Facebook profile in its entirety.

Permanently deleting your Facebook account

If you’ve reached the end of your tether with being poked, bitten by vampires, asked to take endless quizzes or are simply concerned about privacy issues, then completely deleting your Facebook account is the nuclear option. When you delete your account, Facebook promises to discard all “personally identifiable information” associated with that account from its databases – that’s things like names, email addresses, phone numbers, postal addresses, instant-messenger screen names etc etc. However, Facebook says that copies of some material, such as photos, may remain on its servers for “technical reasons”, but that the material is “completely inaccessible” to other Facebook users, and is completely disassociated from any information that makes it possible to link that piece of content back to an individual user. If you deactivate or delete your account, says Facebook, it will no longer use any content associated with it, either.

Committing Facebook suicide, though, takes a little effort – it’s not quite as simple as clicking a few buttons to exorcise your social networking presence. Instead, you need to send a message to Facebook, requesting the permanent deletion of your account. Log on to Facebook, then paste the following address in to your browser window: http://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=12271. It will take you through to a Help page that describes the difference between deactivating and deleting an account. At the bottom of the second paragraph is a link, which takes you through to a page where you submit your deletion request. Click on the link, read the warning entitled “Delete my account”, and then click Submit. The account is deleted immediately, but it can take up to a fortnight for Facebook to clear your information from its cache.

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There’s much more; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/7724359/How-to-delete-your-Facebook-account.html%5D

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