Want to start 2017 off better than 2016? Our humble suggestion: Delete everything! This week we’ll go over how to ditch almost every aspect of your online life, from Twitter to Instagram to Gmail. Today: Burn down the house that Mark Zuckerberg built.
Why to Get Gone:
Hoo, boy. It’s a world-eating tech company that arguably threatens a free press and a democratic society in the U.S. and wants to fly laser drones over developing countries. Run by a founder who is at turns both ruthless and clueless in a way that would be funny if it weren’t also terrifying. Gave shit-poster supporter Palmer Luckey $2 billion. Many, very bad media companies wouldn’t exist without it. Jokes about it being the place where all your racist classmates from high school hang out are well-trodden territory, but, you know, also true? Changing the color of your profile pic to support [FILL IN THE BLANK]. “Maybe” attending events. Trending topics. Untagging yourself.
What You’ll Miss:
Weird Facebook is still very good. You’ll probably forget a ton of people’s birthdays.
What You Won’t Miss:
“Normally I don’t talk about politics but … ”
How to Quit:
First off, a word about quitting Facebook: It’ll make some parts of your life more difficult. Dating apps like Tinder require you to have a Facebook account, and because Facebook ostensibly requires you to use your real name, it’s become the de-facto universal login across a lot of different sites. You’ll also lose the ability to use Facebook apps like Facebook Moments or Facebook Marketplace. Regardless, you can leave Facebook and still do plenty of stuff online — you may just have to enter your email and info a little more often.
In fact, you can even keep on using Facebook Messenger (since most of your friends are on it anyway) without an actual Facebook account. So even if you ditch Facebook, you can still annoy people with literally thousands of stickers.
Once you’re ready to leave, you have two options: deactivation or deletion. Deactivation basically puts your account in suspended animation should you ever want to return. Deletion will remove everything you’ve ever uploaded to Facebook — though, it can take months for everything to actually get deleted.
To deactivate: Click the upper-right, drop-down menu (it looks like a little down arrow) from anywhere in Facebook. Scroll down and select “Settings.”
One you’re there, click the “Security” in the left-hand menu. Scroll to the bottom of the menu and hit “Deactivate Your Account.”
You’ll need to enter your Facebook password one more time, and then you’ll be done. No more status updates, ever!
But, you may be saying, I could still technically reactivate my Facebook account, right? If you want to completely wipe your Facebook presence off the face of the Earth, you’ll need to delete your account. To do that, head to https://www.facebook.com/help/delete_account.
Before you delete, though, you may want to grab a few things you’ve uploaded over the years. To do that, hit that down arrow in the upper right, navigate to “Settings” and go to “General.” From there, hit “Download a copy of your Facebook data.” This will download every post, picture, and video you’ve ever uploaded (get ready to cringe!). Then, delete away without worry.
Facebook has become so omnipresent — over 1.8 billion people worldwide are on the service per the company’s last quarterly report — that leaving can feel a bit like you’ll be missing out. But you’ll still know when the people you truly care about get engaged or have a baby or any of the other things we use Facebook to announce nowadays. You just won’t know when that person you played church-league basketball with has a new kid. And that’s information you can probably live without.