Maybe you’ve tried a social media site and found out it wasn’t for you. Maybe you’re starting over with a new email and (hopefully) new friends. Perhaps you’re just sick of it all and want to remove all traces of yourself from the world of social media. In my case it was a bunch of old accounts that I never used and wanted to be done with. Whatever the reason, it isn’t all that easy to de-socialize.
Some sites are actually impossible to delete your information from, others are pretty easy, and some are intentionally so confusing that you just give up and never use it again.
Terms and Conditions of Use
No, no, I’m not saying I have any terms and conditions for you to use these quick tutorials (other than at your own risk), I’m saying all social media sites have different terms of service that you have agreed to abide by when you signed up. You know at the bottom of that 9000 word 50 page document that you clicked “I’ve read, understood and accepted.”? The one you didn’t read, but really, who does? Here’s where it haunts you. Buried somewhere in that maze of legalese is that you’ve agreed that they can do what they want with your data. Including if they can keep it on file even after you remove your account. Some delete it entirely when you leave, some are worse than others, and some are impossible to stop them from using your data forever. I can’t help you much here, I clicked on the same thing you did, didn’t read it either, and have to abide by their terms and conditions too.
Headlines giveth and small print taketh away.
One other thing, if your tweets or your facebook posts or linked in status’s are archived or indexed anywhere else on the net, well tough luck Charlie. You made this info public and the public can keep it on record.
How to remove yourself from the top social media sites:
Toasting your Facebook Account
It’s actually easy to delete your account from Facebook. Here’s the official documentation for deleting your account.
Simply go into your account menu, that’s the upside down triangle at the top right of Facebook pages.
Then select “Settings”. Head on over to the left side of the page, and under “General”, select “Security”. Take a deep breath, really decide if you want to do it, then select “Deactivate your account”. Bam. Done. Your accounts gone. So long Facebook.
Ha, ha. Ok, I’m lying. It’s still there, but “you” aren’t. It’s essentially parked all of your information in a forgotten corner of Facebook so no one can find you in searches or see any information you provided (if you sent a message to someone they can still see that though as it’s their information now). It’s still all at Facebook in case you ever change your mind. To do that simply login back in with your email and password and Facebook reactivates your account for you. And faster than you can sing a song of six pence you’re back into the social world.
Now if you want to PERMANENTLY delete your account you have a little more work ahead of you. After you deactivate your account you’ll have to go here and press the shiny blue button. It might take up to 14 days but from that point it’s unretrievable. Note: some message might still show up (as mentioned previously) but anything you’ve been tagged in will have your name removed (and unless the pictures were yours, you smiling face will still be there, just the tags are gone). If you want those pictures removed completely, report that you didn’t give permission for that photo under the intellectual property tag on Facebook but understand sometimes that doesn’t matter and people can still post the photo, or contact your friend directly and ask/beg/bribe them to remove it.
So is it really gone after all that? Well Facebook states “Facebook does not use content associated with accounts that have been deactivated or deleted.” So basically, umm, no. They still have it, they’re just not going to use it anymore or allow you access to it. If they get a court order for it? Yeah, they’re handing it over to the authorities.
How to Nuke your Twitter Account
Onto Twitter, which Facebook tells me there’s a lot of people in Winnipeg with an interest in Twitter that I could reach out to via Facebook advertising (unless you’ve deleted your account with the instructions above, right? me neither).
Twitter’s a little more straight forward. Go to your account “Settings” page. The link to it is in the dropdown menu under your small picture in the top right hand side of any Twitter screen.
Now scroll down to the bottom. There it is. Select “Deactivate your Account”. Enter your password when prompted and you’re done. They keep your account for 30 days in case you change your mind but after that it’s permanently deleted.
It might take a few days for your tweets to disappear from searches but that’s essentially it. Note that you can’t delete your account from mobile devices.
Want to delete your LinkedIn account and start over fresh? Head to your settings page. Like Twitter it’s hidden under your picture at the top right.
Then select “Account” on the left then “Close your Account” on the right.
They’ll ask you why, And after all the confirmations are done, you could wait up to 72 hours before the account is closed and again search engines or archival services may have picked it up. LinkedIn may also email you in the future asking you to rejoin. But the data? Well… you did agree to the terms and conditions in section 2D:
You grant LinkedIn a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual, unlimited, assignable, sublicenseable, fully paid up and royalty-free right to us to copy, prepare derivative works of, improve, distribute, publish, remove, retain, add, process, analyze, use and commercialize, in any way now known or in the future discovered, any information you provide, directly or indirectly to LinkedIn, including, but not limited to, any user generated content, ideas, concepts, techniques or data to the services, you submit to LinkedIn, without any further consent, notice and/or compensation to you or to any third parties.
You would have to contact them directly to get them to delete your data permanently and they really don’t have a reason to so best of luck to you.
Its The End As We Know It
So deleting your account is basically denying yourself access to it and a handy way to prevent easy access for others. Data lives on; however, and these services (except Twitter) will hang onto your info for as long as they might be able to use it. And this is just the start for you.
Want to know how to delete yourself from other social media platforms? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll add to this blog post.