How to delete your social media profiles – and why you probably should

Mike MingardTech NewsLeave a Comment

Deleting Social Media - A movement?

As I’m sure you noticed, earlier this year the hashtag #deletefacebook began trending on Twitter. Soon many media outlets were reporting on it as a response to Facebook's terrible handling of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. This involved Facebook admitting they knew that the company had gathered the personal information of over 50 million Facebook users and used it to target voters during the 2016 US Election and the Brexit Leave campaign.

Soon many prominent figures and celebrities joined in. Elon Musk deleted the corporate Facebook pages for both Tesla and SpaceX while Brian Acton (the founder of the now Facebook-owned WhatsApp) promoted #deletefacebook on his Twitter feed. Acton when even as far as to claim he was coached by Facebook executives to mislead European regulators regarding Facebook's intention to merge Facebook and WhatsApp user data.

For a long time, users perhaps felt that handing over personal information was a fair trade to use social platforms which are free.  However, being shown adverts targeted to you is one thing – trying to influence elections with that data is quite another.

So how do you delete social media profiles?

Just ceasing to use a social media profile isn’t enough. The data you gave will still be held by the company (be it Facebook, Twitter or Instagram).  Unsurprisingly many of these platforms don’t make it easy to delete accounts and go to great lengths to communicate all the reasons you shouldn’t do it. Another trick is to periodically change the deletion process so that online information (such as this blog post!) become out of date and unhelpful to the process.

To make things easier I’ve selected the top 4 most popular social media platforms in the UK and detailed the steps to delete your information. Permanently.

Delete your Facebook Profile

Steps to delete your account:

  1. Click the down arrow on the far right of your menu bar.
  2. Click ‘Settings’.
  3. Click ‘Your Facebook Information’ in the left column.
  4. Click ‘Delete Your Account and Information’, then click ‘Delete My Account’.
  5. Enter your password, click ‘Continue’ and then click ‘Delete Account’.

Quick link to the Account Deletion page on Facebook.

Delete your LinkedIn Profile

Steps to delete your account:

  1. Hover your cursor over your photo in the top and select ‘Privacy & Settings’.
  2. Click on the 'Account' side tab next to the shield towards the bottom left of the page.
  3. In the Helpful links section click ‘Close your account’.

Delete your Twitter account

Steps to delete your account:

  1. Click on your profile icon and select ‘Settings and Privacy’.
  2. In the ‘Account’ section scroll to the bottom and select ‘Deactivate your account’.
  3. Click ‘Deactivate
  4. Enter your password and click ‘Deactivate account’ yet again.

For the next 30 days, your account will be deactivated. Logging in will reactivate it if you have a change of heart. After the 30 days, the account will become unrecoverable and your data will be purged from the system.

Delete your Instagram account (owned by Facebook)

It’s important to note that you can’t delete an Instagram account from the app, you need to do it on a computer.

  1. Go to the Delete Your Account page (you may be asked to log in).
  2. Select a reason for deleting your account and re-enter your password. The option to permanently delete your account will only appear once you have given them a reason.
  3. Click ‘Permanently delete my account’.

Even without all the scandals involving data misuse many users have reported improvements in their quality of life once they have been able to say goodbye to social media.

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About the Author
Mike Mingard

Mike Mingard

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Mike is the lead web designer at Optima Systems. With over 20 years' experience in the field. Within Optima his responsibilities include the design and maintenance of client websites as well as interface design for our software products.