Undoubtedly, social media has made it much easier to connect with family and friends. With an activity schedule for all your friends, it’s easy to stay close to those you love, even if you’re thousands of miles away.
However, if you don’t pay for a product, chances are you are the product yourself – and Facebook has made billions from providing high-impact tools to advertisers using your information and browsing habits.
Over the past couple of years, a series of leaks and whistleblowers have shown that Facebook collects a huge amount of information from users, and they have not always been the most sensitive when it comes to privacy issues.
Many have started to opt out of the service, but there are a few additional steps you may need to take besides simply deactivating your profile if you want to protect your personal data.
Fortunately, Facebook has become quite transparent about the types of data it collects, and has also provided easy access to tools you can use to manage that data.
Download and delete Facebook data
Follow the instructions below to download and delete Facebook data and reduce your digital footprint.
Step 1. Log into your Facebook account in a web browser and click the drop-down menu in the upper right corner of the screen.
Step 2. Select “Settings”.
Step 3. On the left side of the screen, select Your Facebook Info.
Step 4. Click Download Information.
Step 5. On the next screen, click “Create File”.
Step 6. At this point, Facebook will notify you that your file is being processed. It may take a while, depending on how long you have been on Facebook and how active you have been on the site and on the Internet, but in most cases it shouldn’t take more than an hour or two.
Once the file has finished processing, you will receive a notification on the website that the file is ready to download, and then you can download the complete file with all the information collected by Facebook. This is great for gathering information you want to keep before you completely delete your Facebook account, or even if you just want to be able to easily sort through the content you’ve accumulated on the site over the years.
However, while we wait for the file to be processed, we can take a look at a few more Facebook data settings.
Step 7. Return to the previous page and click “Activity Log”.
Step 8. This page contains all your actions and interactions with the site. You will see all your posts, comments, and even your reaction to every post on the site. For easy sorting, you can select the data of interest using the activity log filters on the left side of this page.
Step 9. Next to any action, you will see two different icons. The icon on the left lets you see who can see that particular entry, while the icon on the right lets you remove certain entries from the log. This is great if there are certain photographs or posts that you would not like to post on the Internet, but which generally agree with data governance.
Step 10. If you want to completely delete your account and all associated information, this is also an option! Go back to the Facebook info screen and click Delete my account and information.
Step 11. The next screen gives you some information about what will happen when you confirm the setting, as well as some other options, such as simply deactivating Facebook to keep Messenger access. If you want to completely disable Facebook, click on “Remove Account” in the lower right corner of this window.
Just make sure you are 100% sure that you want to delete your account and data permanently, as there will be no refunds in the process after that point. We strongly recommend that you at least download your information from Facebook by following steps 4-6 so that you have copies of any memories you would like to keep for future reference.
Overall, while Facebook has definitely come across as a bit questionable when it comes to how they handle their users’ data, they do give you access to that data if you’re willing to dig a little.
One thing that many users don’t realize is worth mentioning is that the rival social network Instagram is also owned by Facebook. Therefore, if you want to completely delete data from the company’s servers, you should also avoid using this application.
It is certainly inconvenient to cut out the two largest social networks on the Internet, but for those who want better control over the way they use their personal information, it is worth spending a couple of hours reviewing the collected data. and make sure you are as knowledgeable as possible. Enjoy!