What Do Others See When You Delete Your Facebook Account?
By John Granby
There are several reasons you might want to leave Facebook: concern over lack of privacy, problems with a stalker or maybe simply a loss of interest in the site. Whatever your motivation, you will want to know how to delete your account and you will want to understand what information remains even after you have done so.
Deactivating vs. Deleting
Facebook provides two methods of leaving the site: deactivating an account and deleting an account. Deactivating is meant to be a temporary state and does not actually delete any of your information from Facebook. In this state, your account is hidden but you are not removed from friend lists and Facebook continues to maintain your information despite the fact the account will not generate any activity. Deleting an account is a slightly more involved procedure and is designed to completely delete your information from Facebook servers.
Messages to Friends
Even after you delete your account, any messages you sent to friends or even past friends will remain visible to those people. There is currently no way to have those messages deleted when you leave Facebook. Since they were exchanged between two parties, both the sender and receiver own the message chain; you can only delete your copy and not your friend's copy.
Pictures in your picture album should be deleted as part of the account deletion process. However, if you are concerned with potential changes in Facebook ownership policy, then you can delete all your picture albums manually. This is the best way to ensure these are removed from Facebook servers, since you are in direct control of the process. If you were tagged in friends' pictures, your name will eventually be removed and replaced with the neutral descriptor "Facebook User." The tagging action itself is not deleted.
Removing Like Clicks
You can further clean up your past activity by "unliking" anything you previously "liked" on Facebook. This same rule holds true for any other clickable activity you may have participated in. These events will still exist on the product, company, user or service Facebook page and will eventually be replaced with "Facebook User" rather than your name. However, if you want to make a clean break and not leave any trace behind, deleting these actions manually is a good way to do so.
Removing External Facebook Site Connections
There are many other websites and services that offer the option to link their services to your Facebook account or for you to sign into the service using your Facebook ID. If you used this method for any of those sites, you should change your login method and no longer use your Facebook ID. This will help ensure that no remaining connection lingers on Facebook's servers that would keep your name or any other information associated with the site.
John Granby began his writing career in 2000 as a founding member of a tech industry website targeted at WAP developers. He has provided in-depth coverage of the wireless industry, served as a speaker at several conferences and authored a book on Bluetooth. Granby earned a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering from Purdue University.