You’ve finally gotten the courage to do it. You’re going to leave Facebook. But are you done packing? I’ll explain what you should do before you leave the popular social network behind.
Leaving Facebook without preparation does more harm than good. There are accounts and associated apps; there are pictures, videos and messages lingering online. Suddenly disabling your account suspends your data, creating that unpleasant feeling of leaving the house without turning off the iron.
I’ve spent a whole 102 days in Facebook and have posted more than 9,000 updates.
Many people are reluctant to leave Facebook if only because it houses a lot of information about our lives that we haven’t recorded anywhere else. There are ways, however, to break the addiction, get your information, and opt out of Facebook completely. But first, you must prepare.
If you want to leave Facebook but don’t want to leave your footprints behind, this article will help you get out cleanly and avoid a relapse. And all this, without the need to delete your account forever.
Get a complete copy of your profile
Facebook gives everyone the ability to download a full backup of their account. It may take a while to generate a copy of your profile because it includes all the photos, videos and articles that you’ve shared, as well as all chats and messages. Luckily, Facebook puts it all into a tidy ZIP file once its done.
Your exported profile is organized into sections, even telling you who your exes were.
There’s also a more comprehensive way to get your Facebook account details: an unofficial application called GiveMeMyData.com, which gives you all kinds of information like events, birthdays, ‘Likes’ and more. This information is exported in the format of your choice including plain text, XML and JSON, among others.
Combing both methods lets you extract any useful information you may want from your Facebook profile. The advantage of using GiveMeMyData is that the information is extracted in a format that’s easy for other applications to read, which in theory makes it easier to import your data to other social networks.
Remove apps connected to your account
One of the hardest things about leaving Facebook is the fact that many people use their Facebook login details to log in to different apps, as well as to sign-up to use new web services. By linking to a dozen key services, Facebook becomes indispensable.
From the Apps menu in Facebook, you can see all the apps that are connected with your Facebook account. Games like Candy Crush Saga, web sites you use every day, official apps for Facebook, even operating systems – all of these applications at some point request permission to connect with your Facebook account, either to send updates, to log in, or to collect data.
Before you leave Facebook, you need to clean up your connected apps. If you don’t remove these apps, there’s potential for them to become a backdoor through which an attacker could access your account, and finding out that your Facebook profile has been resurrected by someone other than you is never a good thing. On the other hand, you also want to be able to log in to other websites without using Facebook. Consider two key points in the process:
- Remove apps that you no longer intend to use by clicking the “X ” icon
- Remove apps using the application MyPermissions
At the same time, take note of the apps that you want to keep using so that you can access them with a username and password instead of clicking on the blue button. Imagine, for example, that you signed up to Codecademy using Facebook and haven’t created a password. In this case, it’s time to enter Codecademy and create a new username and password.
Take back control of your account and say no to blue little button.
Don’t forget to disconnect Spotify from Facebook
If you’re comfortable enough to show your Facebook friends what you’re listening to on Spotify, you may have trouble ridding yourself of the social network.Why? Because you can no longer access Spotify without reactivating your Facebook account every time.
If you created your Spotify account before September 22, 2011 , you can break the link between Spotify and Facebook from the Spotify Preferences window, in the ‘Social Networks’ section. Also make sure to remember your Spotify username and password.
If you created your account without Facebook, you can dissociate yourself pressing this button
Unfortunately, if you’ve created your Spotify account through Facebook, you must first create a new account using your email address, and then move your Spotify playlists from your old account. It’s a tedious but straightforward procedure, which you can do using the following these steps:
- Sign in with your account and drag the original Spotify playlists to a folder
- Sign in with the new account and drag the lists back to Spotify
- Copy the contents of the lists or cut and paste the songs to new lists
Playlists associated with your Facebook account can be opened from another independent account.
Recreating lists, however, only solves part of the problem. The other is what to do with your registration: Spotify, at the moment, leaves no choice but to cancel and re-register your account. If you contact Spotify’s customer service, there may be a way that they can help ease the transition to a non-Facebook account .
The last resort is to contact the customer services of Spotify
Clean up your friends and name your ‘trusted contacts’
When you leave an apartment, you throw away old furniture. When you leave a social network, why not tidy up your contact list? That way, if (and when) you come back, you’ll only have to see the people you want to.
At the same time, it’s not a bad idea to appoint three or more trusted contacts to your profile. Trusted contacts are friends who can help you access your account if you ever have trouble logging in. You can find them in the Security menu, and they’ll be notified as soon as you save your selection.
Move your administrator rights to other users
If you’ve created or manage Facebook pages, it’s smart to appoint an administrator to take care of the task. If not, the page will still be there, but no one will able able to moderate comments.
Another option? Withdraw the page temporarily, although it may be cruel for fans. Deleting pages is possible as well, but it takes a few days.
Change the ‘lock’ before you leave
If you decide to leave, you’ll mostly likely stop paying attention to account activity, including attempts to access your account. Make it difficult for people trying to steal your account and change the password to one that’s long and difficult to guess.
Another good measure is to enable two-step verification and entry notices, which warn you of possible attempts to access your account from other devices.
Finally, notify your contacts (if you want)
You can leave a note on your wall 24 hours prior to closing your account, or send a message to all your contacts, warning them that you’re leaving the social network. Alternately, you can completely ignore using Facebook and announce that you’re closing your account on other networks, like Twitter. It might even be useful to let your friends know that they can find you on other social networks.
And if you want something even more radical… delete your account
The first thing that Facebook lets you do is to disable the account. When you disable it, you can return to it anytime, with all contacts and content from before. If you don’t want your information to be stored, or if you intend to delete your account completely, you must request permanent deletion using this form.
Deleting your account before you’ve done all of the above not only prevents access to other applications, it also prevents any way of recovering your data. And if you did decide you wanted to return, it would be impossible to do so without opening an entirely new profile. For this reason, I don’t recommend entirely deleting your profile, but, its up to you.