I was recently asked by a parent, how to delete the Facebook account that one of their children had created without permission (the child was under Facebook’s minimum age of 13).
I explained that there were two ways of doing this: Deactivate the account so that it cannot be used but it can be re-activated in the future once the time is right; or Delete the account and all of its information about the child, all of the content (e.g. photos) that the child had uploaded, all of the wall writing, commenting, tagging, etc. that the child had done.
Facebook suggests that people deactivate accounts (not delete them). In this way, if the person changes their mind later, they can just login and re-activate their account (if it wasn’t deleted), and therefore they won’t suffer from “deleter’s remorse!”
One note: Facebook periodically changes where links are located on their site, and the procedures to use, but these instructions were valid at the time that this posting was created.
How to Deactivate a Facebook Account
- Login to http://www.facebook.com using the email address and password of the account that you wish to deactivate.
- In the top-right corner click “Account” and a drop-down menu should appear. Click the “Account Settings” option on this drop-down menu. The “My Account” page should appear.
- Near the bottom of the “My Account” page is an option called “Deactivate Account” with a link beside it called “deactivate”. Click the “deactivate” link.
- Facebook will then display some photos that you have previously uploaded or that you and others have been tagged in, and it will try to convince you to not deactivate your account. If you still want to deactivate the account, then answer the questions on the form (select your “reason for leaving” from a list of options, click to Opt-Out of future emails, etc.), and click the [Confirm] button.
- If there are any future confirmations, then respond to them as appropriate.
How to Delete a Facebook Account
Facebook recommends Deactivating accounts (see above), not deleting accounts. Facebook periodically disables the account deletion option. It isn’t currently available at the time of creating this posting. When the delete option re-appears, I’ll update this posting with instructions. However, please note that when you “delete” your account, you remove *your* access to all of the previously uploaded content and activities that have been performed using the account, but that data remains in Facebook’s data centres for a long time before it is actually deleted (but you and your friends don’t have access to it anymore).
Please enter any questions or comments about getting rid of Facebook accounts in a comment below. Thanks!