3-2-1 and Done: How to Delete Your Social Media Accounts

If the warm-fuzzy feelings you used to get from logging into Facebook and Instagram have vanished along with your personal data, you're not alone.

After Facebook announced that a security breach exposed up to 50 million accounts to being hijacked by hackers, one in ten Americans reported deleting their accounts over privacy concerns and 35 percent said they were using their accounts less than before, a survey showed.

Are you ready to jump ship? Here are the steps to do it.


Just like your last relationship, Facebook won't make it easy for you to walk away.

First, you'll want to take your box of stuff: pictures, meaningful moments, etcetera. To download your account, go into Settings> General Account Settings > Download a copy of your Facebook data and then click "Start My Archive." Facebook will send you an email with a link to download your photos, chat transcripts, status updates—everything.

Now it's time to cut ties. In Facebook's settings menu, click the button "Your Facebook information" and then "Delete Your Account and Information." There's another hoop: click the blue "Delete Account" button. A prompt popped up asking for my password, and then another box will warn the account deletion is permanent. But it's not exactly, not yet anyway.

Facebook delays the deletion process for up to 90 days to forestall against would-be deleters who change their mind. Because once it's gone, it's gone. (If you're not sure yet, try deactivation first.)


Here's how much Instagram doesn't want you to go: you can't delete your account from the app, only online from a web browser. Navigate to the Delete Your Account page and log in with your username and password. Choose from the drop-down why you're going, then enter yoru password a second time before choosing, "Permanently delete my account." Say sayonara to so many selfies.


Much like Facebook, the Twitter deletion isn't instantaneous. It's more of a slow-burn breakup.

Visit your account settings on a web browser and scroll down to the Deactivate your account option. Click Deactivate. You'll be prompted to enter your password and confirm that yeah, you've had as many hashtags and Twitter wars as you can take for this lifetime.

Or at least the next 30 days. Your profile and tweets will appear to vanish, but your data will be in purgatory for a 30-day grace period in case you change your mind. (If you're a verified user and have that little blue checkmark by your name, you get a full year before no backsies.)

If you don't login for the next 30 (or 365 days), Twitter will officially delete your account and your data.

So what can you expect from all this social media freedom?

Time. And twitchy thumbs.

"Scrolling social media no longer fills every second of free time I have," writes Gina Van Thomme, a self-described millennial, on The Huffington Post. "It has officially lost its role as my go-to source of entertainment, connection and affirmation ― and it feels so damn good."

You may even come to enjoy something you forgot about, Van Thomme reports.

"Impossible as it once seemed, I've even grown to enjoy privacy ― to feel like my life is full of little secrets and treasures that only those closest to me get to know about, even if the secret is only what I ate for breakfast."

Bon appétit, just you and your cereal bowl.

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