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How to deactivate or delete your Facebook account: Get rid of Facebook temporarily or permanently

Follow this step-by-step guide to delete your Facebook account permanently or temporarily

If you're fed up with Facebook, you might decide that you want to delete your account. Perhaps you're finding it too addictive and want to take a break, or maybe you want to delete your account permanently for privacy reasons, or maybe you've simply found it's not the social network for you. You can choose to temporarily delete your Facebook account or permanently delete your Facebook account, depending on your reasons for leaving. Here, we guide you through both options. Also see: 13 best Facebook tips and tricks

First things first, it's important to understand the difference between the two options. You can delete your account temporarily so you can re-join at a later date, but all of your information such as friends and photos will remain in Facebook's hands. See: How to view most recent stories in Facebook's News Feed

This first option is ideal if you plan on returning to the social network, and aren't too concerned about your information being stored on the web. Your entire Timeline will be taken offline, and no one will be able to search for you using Facebook's search functionality, but all you need to do is log back in to the account in order for it to instantly reappear.

The second option is to permanently delete your Facebook account. If you think you'll ever want to return to your Facebook account and retrieve the content stored there such as photos, messages and statuses, you won't want to choose this option. As soon as you delete your account, this information can no longer be recovered. There is a way to download all of the information from your Facebook account before you delete it, though, which we'll explain later in this article.

How to deactivate your Facebook account

The first thing you'll need to do to deactivate your Facebook account – that's temporarily deleting your account as explained above – is log in.

Navigate to the account settings page by clicking the arrow on the far right of the blue bar that runs along the top of your Facebook page. Click settings, and you'll see the 'General Account Settings' page. You want to be on the 'Security Settings' page, so click 'Security' in the navigation menu on the left.

At the bottom of the 'Security Settings' page, you'll find the 'Deactivate your account' link. Click it, and you'll be faced with a page that basically serves the purpose of trying to convince you to stay. You'll see a selection of friends that Facebook thinks will miss you, but if you're still sure you want to deactivate your account, you'll need to look past that.

You're required to tell Facebook why you're leaving, which can range from privacy concerns to a lack of understanding of Facebook or the confession that you spend too much time using it.

If you're the sole admin of any Facebook Pages, they'll be deactivated unless you choose to pass on your admin duties to a friend. You can do so by clicking the 'Edit Admins' button presented here.

Finally, we'd advise you to tick the 'Email opt out' option. Otherwise, you'll run the risk of getting event invites and more clogging up your inbox.

Now, all that's left to do is click 'Confirm' and your account will be deactivated. Remember, logging back in to Facebook like normal will reactivate your account.

How to permanently delete your Facebook account

If you've decided that you want to permanently delete your Facebook account, you'll need to go about things slightly differently. Visit Facebook's Delete Account page (click here) and log in (if haven't already).

You'll then need to click "Delete my account," but please make sure that you're absolutely certain that you don't ever want to revisit your Facebook account again.

How to download your Facebook Archive

If you want to keep the information and data on your Facebook account before you delete it, you can download everything as an archive onto your computer. To do this, you'll need to be logged in.

Navigate to the arrow at the right of the blue bar at the top of your Facebook window, click 'Settings' and then click 'Download a copy of your Facebook data' at the bottom of the page. You'll then need to click the green 'Start My Archive' button download get everything including posts, photos, videos, messages, chats and information from Facebook.

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