How to Deactivate Your Facebook

 Facebook doesn't make it easy to find the link to deactivate your Facebook account, but deactivating Facebook can be accomplished fairly easily once you know where to look.

First, though, be clear about whether you want to suspend or delete your Facebook account. Facebook calls a temporary account suspension "deactivating" and permanent cancellation "deleting." There's a world of difference between deactivating and deleting.

Deactivating just suspends your account until you sign back in. Your profile and data will be invisible to others until you reactivate your account, but Facebook saves it all in case you want to return. Deleting, by contrast, permanently erases your account (though it takes two weeks to make that happen.)

Before you start either process, be sure to remove any linked accounts you may have to other websites or accounts that use Facebook Connect. That's so you don't get logged into Facebook automatically and accidentally undo your Facebook deactivation.

Okay, let's get started deactivating your Facebook account.

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Go To Account Settings, Find Deactivate My Account

Deactivate Facebook screenshot
© Facebook: deactivate screenshot

To find the link to deactivate your Facebook, sign in and go to the menu at the top of every page. Click ACCOUNT/ACCOUNT SETTINGS and scroll down to the bottom. (Yes, Facebook likes to hide its deactivation link.)

Click "deactivate" to the far right at the bottom.

It will ask, "Are you sure you want to deactivate your account? Deactivating your account will disable your profile and remove your name and picture from anything you've shared on Facebook."

Then it may pick a friend of yours and say "SoandSo will miss you." Facebook will even display his or her photo, in an attempt to make you feel warm and fuzzy about the service you are trying to leave. It may even tell you how many friends you stand to lose!

You must answer two more questions before you can click the button to deactivate.

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Choose Your Reason for Deactivating Facebook

Reasons to deactivate Facebook
© Facebook: Reasons to deactivate

Next, it will require you to check a reason for leaving Facebook before the network will allow you to deactivate your Facebook account. (All this for a temporary suspension!)

Your options include worries about privacy, having your account hacked, not finding Facebook useful, not understanding how to use Facebook and my personal favorite, "I spend too much time using Facebook."

There are so many reasons people leave Facebook, you may have trouble deciding which matters most to you. But check one and move on.

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Opt Out of Emails From Facebook

Facebook: Opt Out Checkbox
© Facebook: Opt Out Checkbox

Finally, it will present a box you must check if you want to "opt out of receiving future emails from Facebook."

Be sure to check this if you want to stop getting invites from your Facebook friends. If you don't check this, your friends can continue tagging you in photos even after you've deactivated your Facebook.

Click to Deactivate Facebook

Finally, click the "Confirm" button to deactivate your account.

But remember, you haven't "deleted" your account. It is merely suspended from viewing, so to speak.

Facebook's FAQ pages explain that your profile and the info linked to it disappear from viewing, so your profile is no longer searchable and your friends no longer see your Wall.

However, all that information gets saved by Facebook, including your friends, photo albums and any groups you joined. Facebook says it does this in case you change your mind and want to use Facebook again in the future.

"A lot of people deactivate their accounts for temporary reasons and expect their profiles to be there when they return to the service," says the Facebook help page on deactivation.

Reactivate Your Facebook Account

If you change your mind later, you can easily retrieve your account. This article explains how to reactivate your Facebook account.

How to Permanently Delete Your Facebook

If you really want to quit Facebook, there is a way of making a permanent exit.

This method permanently wipes out your profile information and Facebook history, so you can't reactivate your Facebook account later.

It takes about 14 days to permanently delete your Facebook account, but it's not hard to do.

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