According to Pew Research, just over half of Facebook users 18 and older have scaled back the amount of time spent on the platform. Maybe it’s a sign that we’re collectively growing weary of the social media giant.
Perhaps you’re outraged following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Maybe you’re sick of all the notifications. Or, thanks to Facebook, you now know you come from a family of monsters with fringe political views.
Whatever the case, deleting Facebook has never looked so good.
But, one of the most powerful ways good old FB keeps users hooked is the connection to its massively popular chat app, Messenger.
Which brings us to this — can you delete Facebook and still keep your Messenger account? The answer is… kind of.
Best bet: Deactivate your Facebook, keep Messenger
We’ll say this outright; you need to technically keep your Facebook account if you want to continue using Messenger as is.
Deactivation is almost the same thing, except, well, Facebook still hangs onto your data. You know, for later.
To do this, head over to your account settings. From there, navigate to the section on the left labeled, “Your Facebook Information.” Click “Delete Your Account Information.”
There, you’ll see two options. One is to deactivate your account and the second is to download a copy of your information before you delete your account.
Next time you log into the app, you’ll see the following screen:
There are a couple of downsides associated with deactivating your account over deleting it. If you just don’t like the platform but want to keep using Messenger, there shouldn’t be a problem.
If privacy and data breaches are your primary motivator for getting rid of your account, deactivation isn’t a full-blown cleanse. Facebook saves all of your photos, posts, and associated data in case you decide to come back.
Photos of you that appear on other peoples’ accounts may still exist, as will any tagged comments or photos. They just won’t link to your profile anymore.
To be honest, if you want a good messaging app, you can always just download WhatsApp.
You can’t officially delete Facebook without deleting Messenger
If you do decide to delete your account, Facebook will delay the actual deletion for up to 14 days. If you log in at any point during the interim, Facebook will reactivate your account.
According to the website, some data may remain in the system for up to 90 days. However, your information will not be available to other Facebook users.
As far as Messenger is concerned, Facebook is pretty clear. If you click the option to delete your account permanently, you’ll have the option to keep Messenger deactivated instead.
What’s the difference between deleting Facebook and deactivating?
Deactivation means you’ll disappear from the timeline and you won’t have access to the site or any built-in apps (aside from Messenger, of course).
But, as Facebook says, you can always come back.
When you delete your account, you’ll need to start from scratch if you change your mind. That said, erasing yourself from the platform means that you’ll be giving up your Messenger access.
Download your Facebook data before you go
Before you delete your account, Facebook will give you the option to download your personal data file. You may want to do this if you’ve been using Facebook to store photos or want to hang onto other information.
Downloading your data can also function as a reality check of sorts. Facebook, as well as others like Google and Apple, know a ton about you and make tons of money off of these revelations.
So, what happens to your data after you delete Facebook?
According to the Facebook help center, it could take up to 90 days to delete your entire record. After those 90 days are up, a few traces of your online past will live on.
Things like Messenger records may still exist in your friends’ accounts well after you’ve closed up shop.
Keep in mind that deleting your Facebook account doesn’t mean that your information will be pulled from elsewhere, either. FB’s business model depends on selling data to third-party vendors, so it’s possible some of your information will continue to float around the web.
You don’t need a Facebook account to use Messenger, anyway
When Facebook initially debuted Messenger, people thought that the separate app was somewhat unnecessary.
That was back in 2015. The 2016 election and subsequent privacy breaches had yet to change the public’s view of the platform.
The real benefit of the app is, you don’t need to have a Facebook account to use it at all. So, why not download the app, update your friends, and say goodbye to the Facebook scene once and for all?