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How to Quit Facebook

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So you’ve made up your mind to quit Facebook—and you really mean it this time. Beware: Once you cross this line, there’s no going back. Your photos, status updates, and messages will disappear, and your name will vanish from Facebook search. Forever.

Before you hit “delete,” you may want to save much of that information by downloading your personal archive. It includes posts, photos, and videos you’ve shared with others; messages and chat conversations; and the details provided in the About section of your profile. (Click here for a full list of archive data.)

Facebook will generate a copy of your personal archive and send it to you via an email with a link to a .zip file. Just be sure to save that file before you delete your account.

If you use Facebook Login to access third-party apps and sites, you may also want to create new logins and passwords for those services, so you don’t lose access to the accounts. (Not sure which apps and websites are linked to your Facebook account? Check out the Apps section in Settings for a complete list.)

Going forward, you can keep your log-in credentials and passwords handy across multiple devices with a password manager.

Once you’re finally ready to make your grand exit from Facebook, it’s relatively simple: Go to this page and click “Delete my account.”

The decision won’t take effect immediately; Facebook delays erasing your account for “a few days” to give you time to change your mind. If that happens, you can log back in to your account during that stretch and your deletion request will be canceled.

In the meantime, your data will not be accessible to others on Facebook. It may, however, take up to 90 days from the start of the deletion process for all your information to be deleted from Facebook’s backup systems, according to the company.

Of course, there’s no way to scrub yourself completely from Facebook, even after you’ve permanently deleted your account: Messages you’ve sent to friends will still be visible in their inboxes, for example, and any posts you’ve made in groups will remain unless you delete them before opting to end your ties to Facebook.

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