Facebook has agreed to pay a record $5 billion settlement to resolve an investigation into privacy violations, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Wednesday. The company will also create an “independent privacy committee” to ensure “greater accountability at the board of directors level,” an FTC press release says. But the settlement won’t affect Facebook’s corporate governance structure, which lets Zuckerberg hold sway over the company’s actions.
Facebook has promised to clean up its act when it comes to privacy matters. But the social media giant’s missteps have nonetheless cost it the trust of some users. 74% of adult Facebook users have either adjusted their privacy settings in the last year, taken a break from the site, or deleted the Facebook app from their phones, according to the Pew Research Center.
Of course, there are also more extreme measures you can take if you no longer trust Facebook — including deactivating or deleting your Facebook account. Alternatively, you can review how much information you’re sharing with and on the platform. Here’s how to do all of those things.
How to permanently delete your Facebook account
To completely remove your Facebook profile and all the photos, videos, status updates and so on you’ve shared over the years, you’ll need to permanently delete your Facebook account. Doing so will prevent you from using Facebook Messenger, as well as disable any Facebook-based logins you use for other services, like Spotify. (Facebook says you’ll need to contact those sites to set up a new login.)
After deleting your Facebook account, you’ll have a 30-day window to change your mind. Once those 30 days are up, all your information will be permanently deleted and inaccessible. (Your information won’t be viewable to other Facebook users during the 30-day period.) Facebook suggests users download their Facebook data—posts, photos, comments, and other profile information—before deleting an account. Facebook can create a password-protected file containing all your posts and other content that’s downloadable a few days after being requested.
To permanently delete your Facebook account, navigate to the Setting page through the downward facing arrow at the top right side of the site. Click the Your Facebook Information link under Security and Login and navigate to the Delete Your Account and Information link. Once there, you’ll have the option to Deactivate Account, which will allow you to either keep Messenger access, Download Your Information, or Delete Account.