Whether you spend hours a day on Facebook or haven’t checked it in years, you might find yourself wanting to get rid of your account.
As TODAY explains, you have two options: deactivation or deletion. If you choose to deactivate your account, it won’t get wiped from the internet. Facebook will hang onto all your data, from photos and posts to friends and liked pages, should you ever decide to return. Reactivation is as simple as signing back into your Facebook account, which you can do directly through Facebook or by using your Facebook credentials to sign into another app or site.
If you’re wondering what makes deactivation more intense than just logging out of your account, the difference is that deactivated accounts are invisible to other users, so people won’t be able to view your page or find you if they search for you. If you want to quit Facebook cold turkey and are confident that you’ll never reconsider going back, on the other hand, deletion is your best bet. It’s totally permanent, so you’d have to create a new account if you did change your mind.
To either deactivate or delete your account, open Facebook and go to “Settings.” If you’re using Facebook on a web browser, click the triangle in the upper right corner of your screen and choose Settings & Privacy > Settings. On the mobile app, Settings & Privacy > Settings is under the hamburger menu (three horizontal lines) in the bottom right corner of your screen. Once you’ve done that, look for a section titled “Your Facebook Information.” For web browser users, it’ll be along the left side of your screen. In the mobile app, you’ll have to scroll down a bit.
On a web browser, the bottom entry in that section should be “Deactivation and Deletion.” Click that, and you’ll be able to choose which action to complete. In the app, choose “Account Ownership and Control” and then “Deactivation and Deletion” for the same result.