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How to delete Facebook without losing any of your photos and contacts

Do it, you coward.

picture of someone deleting facebook on an iphone
Image: Engadget

If you’ve been following any of the recent Facebook coverage, you might be wondering if it’s time to get the hell outta Dodge and delete your account. Sure, it won’t stop Facebook tracking you, but it should stop the company from knowing where you are at all times and where you will be.

Let’s face it – Facebook isn’t the friendly service that rolled out in 2008 to help you reconnect with old school friends. Now it owns all your data, whether you want it to or not.

How to delete Facebook and not lose your contacts

If I was truly brave (and I’m not), I’d just hit that magic “Delete Account” button and never look back. I do still want to keep my Contacts list with all my old classmates and the few personal photos that I uploaded, so I want to download my data before I shutter the account.

delete facebook account

Screenshot: Joe Rice-Jones/KnowTechie

Thankfully, Facebook makes it really easy to download your data.

  1. Be brave. Open Facebook on your web browser, ignore any Motivational posts, cat videos or “OMGWTFBBQ This simple trick destroys cancer!” posts and skip over to your “Settings”

    how to get to your facebook settings

    Screenshot: Joe Rice-Jones/KnowTechie

  2. Click on “Your Facebook Information” in the top left-hand area.

    how to get to your facebook information

    Screenshot: Joe Rice-Jones/KnowTechie

  3. Then click on “Download Your Information”

    download your facebook information

    Screenshot: Joe Rice-Jones/KnowTechie

  4. Now you get a pretty long list of every category of your life that Facebook has on file for you. That includes anything you’ve uploaded to their servers, Messenger histories, and some stuff you didn’t have input on – like Ad topics that Facebook’s algorithms say are relevant to you.Pick what you want to keep – if you’re only interested in Photos and Contacts, then untick all the other categories.
    Choose which data to download from Facebook

    Screenshot: Joe Rice-Jones/KnowTechie

    Facebook then zips up your data for download. Depending on how much information there is, it might take a minute (like in my case) or it might take an hour. You can close Facebook while it works, once your data is ready to download you’ll get a notification in the usual notification area.

  5.  Unzip that file and make sure that your data is there. I chose “HTML” as my download type, so got a bunch of HTML files for my contact lists, plus another folder filled with my uploaded photos and videos.

    contents of downloaded facebook information

    Screenshot: Joe Rice-Jones/KnowTechie

  6. Since Facebook isn’t holding your photos anymore, you need to decide where to store them. Might I suggest taking advantage of Google Photos and its unlimited storage for images?
  7. Now, if you want to take it further, it’s time to delete your account
  8. Go back to Facebook and the “Settings” page we were on earlier.
  9. This time, click on “Delete your account and information”

    how to delete your facebook account

    Screenshot: Joe Rice-Jones/KnowTechie

  10.  Since we already downloaded our data, we can just click on “Delete Account”

    how to delete your facebook account

    Screenshot: Joe Rice-Jones/KnowTechie

  11. Facebook will ask you to confirm the deletion and for your password. Enter that, and you’ll get a message saying something like “Your account is scheduled for deletion. Facebook will start deleting your data in 14 days. Just a quick note: Facebook won’t delete anything before those 14 days are over, so at any time you can go back into your account and stop the deletion if you’ve had a change of heart.

Enjoy your freedom (and lack of Facebook data leaks)

What do you think? Plan on deleting your Facebook account? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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