PC Doctor August 22, 2014

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Dear PC Doctor:

I got tired of all the drama and wanted to get rid of Facebook.  After backing up all my photo albums to my hard drive and messaging all the friends and family with my private e-mail address, I went ahead and deleted my account.  But then I got a message from Facebook saying that, if I logged back in with my e-mail address and password, everything would still be there.  Does this mean that Facebook has saved all my posts and people’s replies?  I really would like for all of it to go away forever.  How can I make that happen?  Does Facebook somehow own my posts?

           Thanks, Hannah


Dear Hannah:

This is an interesting question that I bet other people will want to know the answer to.  I had to do a little experimenting to see if it is possible to actually permanently and completely remove a Facebook account.

First, and it’s good news, is that, when people search for you on Facebook, they will get this message:

“Sorry, this page isn't available.  The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed.” So, no one can actually see anything you had posted in the past.

Second, and this may also be good news, it’s possible that you “deactivated” your account instead of “deleting” it.  If you deactivate, Facebook saves your profile but other users can’t see it.  Messages you sent to friends will still be visible to those friends, but you won’t have a wall or timeline on which anyone can post.  If you decide to re-activate your account at a later date, all of your posts, messages, and photos will be reactivated, too.

It sounds like you wanted to permanently delete your account.  That would erase everything: if you tried to log in with your e-mail address and password, Facebook would not find your account.  Your personal information would be removed from Facebook’s database.

In reading Facebook’s “help” files, it appears that the only way to permanently delete everything is to ask them to do it for you.  Log in to your Facebook account.  In the blue bar across the top, click on the upside-down triangle and choose “help” from the pull-down menu. Type “permanently delete my account” in the search box. Click on the link for “How do I permanently delete my account?” Read the paragraphs on that page. If you are sure you want to permanently delete your Facebook account with no possibility of recovering any of it, click “let us know.” That will bring you to a screen with a blue button that says “Delete My Account.” Once you click that, you should be all set.

Until next time … Happy Computing!

           PC Doctor