The Ultimate Guide to Deleting Social Media: A 2022 Cleanse

At the start of the new year, millions of people will make resolutions involving losing weight, starting an exercise regimen, or even completing a dietary cleanse. While these are all noble goals, many of us would be well-served by attempting a social media cleanse—both to remove vulnerable personal information from the internet and reprioritize our free time toward more meaningful pursuits.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with social media. It can allow geographically-distant friends and family to stay in touch, connect people with common goals and interests and provide an endless source of news and entertainment.

But your presence on social media comes at the cost of your digital privacy, with big tech companies like Facebook and Google leveraging your activity to collect personal information about you that it can then monetize through advertising and other activities.

Search engines constantly scour social media sites to collect personal details about their users, including their full names, contact information, home addresses, birthdates, political views, and other demographic information.

This information can then be packaged and sold to data brokers, aggressive marketers, hackers, and other bad actors, making you vulnerable to harassment, scams, identity theft, and other potentially catastrophic crimes.

If you’re ready to take the leap and start deleting social media accounts in 2022, the following guide will walk you step-by-step through the process of disentangling yourself from the most popular digital platforms and deleting social media.

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Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn | TikTok | Reddit | Pinterest

Looking to go beyond deleting social media accounts? Get your data automatically removed from dozens of people search websites and data brokers, and avoid hate raids, for less than the cost of a Netflix subscription with Removaly.

Deleting or Deactivating Your Facebook Account

Facebook is the oldest and most popular social media platform, dating back to 2004 when founder Mark Zuckerberg launched the site from his Harvard dorm room. Since then, the platform has exploded from a handful of students to nearly 3 billion monthly active users—nearly half the planet! That number includes roughly 70 percent of American adults and 83 percent of Canadians—and likely most of the people reading this article as well.

In recent years, Facebook has come under fire for its aggressive data collection practices and failure to protect its users’ personal information. Facebook actively compiles almost 100 distinct data points about its users—age, geographic location, gender, education level, ethnic affinity, political affiliation, relationship status, job title, hobbies, and religious beliefs—and uses this information to develop precisely-targeted advertising.

The tech giant also agreed to a $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in 2019, after the FTC charged the company with violating users’ privacy by storing their passwords in easily-compromised plain text files.

Facebook users have also grown increasingly troubled by the site’s role in spreading false information, especially related to elections and the coronavirus pandemic. Facebook was widely condemned for perpetuating political misinformation during both the 2016 and 2020 U.S. Presidential elections, and the site has also been used to share fake news about the efficacy and side effects of COVID-19 vaccines and other treatments.

Whether you no longer trust the company to be a good steward of your personal data or simply don’t want to contribute to the site’s continued erosion of public trust and respectful civic discourse, you have two options for breaking up with Facebook: deactivation and deletion.

If you’re conflicted about leaving social media, deactivating your Facebook account may be a good way to test the waters. Deactivation is an open-ended but temporary hiatus from the site. While your account is deactivated, other users won’t be able to find your name in searches or see your timeline, but any direct messages you’ve sent through Messenger will still be visible to their recipients. If you change your mind, you restore your old account as though you’d never left.

Deleting Social Media: Deactivate Your Facebook Account

To deactivate your account from a desktop browser

  • Log into your account.
  • Click on the down arrow icon in the top right corner of the page.
  • From the drop-down menu, choose Settings & Privacy and click on Settings.
  • In the list on the left side of the page, click on Your Facebook Information (alternatively click here)
  • From the list in the center of the page, select Deactivation and Deletion.
  • Click the button next to Deactivate Account and then click the blue Continue to Account Deactivation button.
  • On the next screen, you will be required to choose a reason for deactivation. You can also check a box to opt out of receiving emails from Facebook. Once you have made your selections, click the blue Deactivate button to complete the process.
How to deactivate your Facebook account on desktop.

To deactivate your account from within the mobile app

  • Tap the Menu icon in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  • Scroll down and tap Settings & Privacy, then select Settings from the drop-down menu.
  • Tap on Personal and Account Information.
  • Choose Account Ownership and Control and then Deactivation and Deletion.
  • Click the button next to Deactivate Account and then click the blue Continue to Account Deactivation button.
  • On the next screen, you will need to re-enter your password for security purposes.
  • As with the desktop method, you will then be required to choose a reason for deactivation before clicking the blue Deactivate button to complete the process.
How to deactivate your Facebook account on mobile.

For a permanent departure from Facebook, you’ll need to delete your account. Note that if you get cold feet, you can log back into the site within 30 days of deleting and your account will be fully restored. After 30 days, you won’t be able to access your account, though it can take up to 90 days for Facebook to completely remove your data.

Before you complete the deletion process, be sure to download a copy of your Facebook information so you won’t lose the photos, posts, and private messages you’ve amassed over the years.

Deleting Social Media: Delete Your Facebook Account

How to delete your Facebook account from a desktop browser

  • Once you’ve logged into your account, click on the down arrow icon in the top right corner of the page.
  • From the drop-down menu, choose Settings & Privacy and then Settings.
  • From the list on the left side of the page, click on Your Facebook Information.
  • In the center of the page, click on the Deactivation and Deletion option.
  • Select the button next to Delete Account. You’ll see a reminder warning you that this action is permanent and that you will no longer have access to your content, including your Messenger account and past messages.
  • Click the blue Continue to Account Deletion button.
  • On the next screen, you will have the option to download your information if you haven’t already done so.
  • Click the blue Delete Account button. Enter your password when prompted and click Continue.
How to delete your Facebook account on desktop.

How to delete your Facebook account from within the mobile app

  • Make sure you have already downloaded your information to a computer, since it’s harder to complete this step on the mobile app.
  • Select the Menu icon in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  • Scroll down the page and select Settings & Privacy, then choose Settings from the drop-down menu.
  • Tap on Personal and Account Information.
  • Choose Account Ownership and Control and then Deactivation and Deletion.
  • Click the button next to Delete Account followed by the blue Continue to Account Deletion button.
  • On the next screen, you will need to re-enter your password for security purposes.
  • Click Continue to complete the process.
How to delete your Facebook account on mobile.

For a more comprehensive look at deactivating and/or deleting your Facebook account, check out our complete guide available here.

Looking to go beyond deleting social media accounts? Get your data automatically removed from dozens of people search websites and data brokers, and avoid hate raids, for less than the cost of a Netflix subscription with Removaly.

Deleting or Disabling Your Instagram Account

With more than 1 billion users, Instagram rivals its sister company Facebook in global popularity. The photo- and video-sharing platform was founded in 2010 and acquired by Facebook in 2012. In 2021, Instagram became the subject of intense public scrutiny when a whistleblower revealed that the company’s own internal research showed that use of the site by adolescent girls was associated with eating disorders, self-harm, suicidal thoughts and other mental health issues.

Though Instagram is owned by Facebook’s recently-rebranded parent company Meta, the site still operates as a distinct entity and has a different process for deleting your account.

Unlike Facebook, which allows users to deactivate and delete accounts from its mobile app, you must be logged into Instagram on a web-based browser in order to remove yourself from the platform, either by disabling or deleting your account. Account disabling allows users to take a (theoretically) temporary break from Instagram, while account deletion is final.

Deleting Social Media: Disable Your Instagram Account

To disable your Instagram account:

  • Log into your account from a desktop or mobile browser (not the app).
  • Click on the circle containing your profile picture in the upper right corner.
  • From the drop-down menu, select Profile.
  • Click on the rectangular Edit Profile button at the top of the screen.
  • At the bottom of the page, click on the blue text reading “Temporarily disable my account.” Alternatively, you can just go to this link if you’re already logged in.
  • On the next screen, you’ll need to select a reason for disabling your account from the drop-down menu.
  • You’ll be asked to re-enter your password, after which you can click the Temporarily Disable Account button. Your account will be deactivated within a few hours until (or if) you choose to reactivate it.
Select a reason, re-enter your password, and you’re good.

Deleting Social Media: Delete Your Instagram Account

Deleting your Instagram account is a bit trickier than disabling it since there’s no obvious button or option on your profile for this permanent action, but the process is brief.

  • Log in to your Instagram account on a web-based browser.
  • Go to the Delete Your Account page linked here
  • Choose your reason for deleting your account from the options provided and re-enter your password as prompted.
  • Click Permanently Delete My Account.
There is a 30-day window where you can change your mind if needed.

Note that deleting your account cannot be reversed. Your full account history, including photos, followers, likes and comments, will be inaccessible, and you won’t be able to sign up under the same username in the future should you decide to return.

As with Facebook, you can download a copy of your data by visiting the Settings menu, clicking Privacy and Security and scrolling down to Data Download. Click Request Download and enter your password and email address when prompted. Your data should be emailed to you within 48 hours.

Deleting or Deactivating Your Twitter Account

When it launched in 2006, the microblogging platform Twitter offered a unique source of real-time online news and opinions, limiting users to statements of 140 characters or less. In recent years, however, Twitter has been largely hijacked by cyberbullies, outraged political partisans and bots, causing the average user’s experience to deteriorate precipitously.

Whether you find yourself wasting time arguing with trolls or you’re simply looking for opportunities to reduce your online exposure, it may be time to delete your Twitter account. 

Like Facebook and Instagram, Twitter offers users the opportunity to temporarily deactivate their accounts. However, this hiatus is limited to 30 days, after which the account and its associated username will be permanently deleted. If the user logs back into the account within the 30-day deactivation period, the account will be restored. While the deactivation is in place, your username will not be visible to other users in searches.

Before you deactivate, you may want to download your Twitter archive through the steps listed below:

  • Go to Account Settings by clicking on the More (three dots inside a circle) icon in the navigation bar and selecting Your Account.
  • Click on Download an Archive of Your Data, enter your password when prompted and click Confirm. Or click here to bypass the clicks.
  • Verify your identity by clicking Send Code to have a confirmation code sent to the email address or phone number associated with your account. Enter the code and click Request Data.
  • When your data is ready to download, Twitter will send an email or a push notification in the Twitter mobile app.
  • Click the Download button while logged into your Twitter account to download a .zip file of your Twitter history.
Before deleting your Twitter, it’s important to gather a data archive.

Deleting Social Media: Deactivating Your Twitter Account

To deactivate your Twitter account:

  • Log into Twitter from a web-based browser.
  • Click on the More (three dots) icon and choose Settings and Privacy from the drop-down menu.
  • From the Your Account tab, click Deactivate Your Account. Or just click here.
  • Click Deactivate, enter your password when prompted and click the Deactivate Account button. After 30 days, your account will be permanently deleted.
Like Instagram, you can re-enable within 30 days if you see fit.

Looking to go beyond deleting social media accounts? Get your data automatically removed from dozens of people search websites and data brokers, and avoid hate raids, for less than the cost of a Netflix subscription with Removaly.

Deleting Your LinkedIn Account

Unless we’re actively searching for new job opportunities, most of us generally don’t spend large amounts of time browsing through LinkedIn, but it’s actually one of the primary online locations of our personal data.

LinkedIn profiles often contain our full names, work histories, current employer, and possibly even our home addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers. Resumes posted to LinkedIn are a treasure trove of information—not only for potential networking opportunities but also would-be identity thieves and other cybercriminals who would exploit our information for their gain.

Given this substantial vulnerability, you would be wise to consider deleting your LinkedIn profile, especially if you’re not in the market for a career change. Before taking this step, it can be helpful to download a copy of your LinkedIn data, which will preserve your contacts and other shared information for future use. To download your archive, click Me at the top of the LinkedIn home page, go to Settings and Privacy and click Get a Copy of Your Data.

Deleting Social Media: Delete Your LinkedIn Account

To delete your LinkedIn account:

  • Log into your account on a web-based browser.
  • Click the Me button in the top right corner of the page.
  • Select Settings and Privacy and then click Profile Information in the list on the left.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and select Close Account.
  • Choose a reason for closing the account and click Next.
  • Enter your password when prompted and click Close Account.

If you prefer a temporary approach to closing your account completely, you can opt to hibernate your LinkedIn account instead. During hibernation, your profile won’t be visible to other users, including your connections.

Any messages you’ve sent and recommendations or endorsements you’ve given in the past will be attributed to “A LinkedIn Member,” and your profile photo will be replaced with a generic icon. You can hibernate your account indefinitely and can restore it by logging back into your account 24 hours after hibernation begins.

Deleting Social Media: Put Your LinkedIn Account In Hibernation

To turn on Hibernation:

  • Log into your account and click the Me icon at top of the page.
  • Select Settings and Privacy, then Account Preferences and Account Management.
  • Click Change next to Hibernate Account.
  • Choose the reason you’re hibernating your account, enter your password and click Hibernate Account to complete the process.

Please note, if you have any kind of LinkedIn Recruiter or business-based account, you are unable to put your LinkedIn into hibernation mode.

Deleting Your TikTok Account

The viral video site TikTok launched in China in 2016 and quickly rose to the top of the social media food chain. Users post short videos—anywhere from 15 seconds to three minutes—that often depict pranks, dances, musical performances or other entertaining content, and it can be easy to spend hours going down rabbit holes on this addictively engaging site.

Whether TikTok has become an unsustainable time-suck in your life or you have privacy concerns related to the site’s Chinese origins, the following steps will help you get rid of your TikTok account for good.

  • Open the TikTok app and select the Me button in the bottom right corner. 
  • Tap the three-dot menu at the top right side of your screen.
  • Choose Manage My Account and then Delete Account at the bottom of the screen.
  • Follow the directions and tap Delete Account to confirm.
  • At this point, your account has been deactivated. After 30 days, if you haven’t logged in to reactivate your account, it will be permanently deleted.
The two steps involved in account deletion on TikTok.

Deleting Your Reddit Account

Despite the relative anonymity of Reddit, you may wish to include it in your 2022 digital detox. While deleting your Reddit account is a simple process, erasing all of your past posts and comments can be tedious and time-consuming, since you’ll need to go through and delete each one individually.

  • Log into your Reddit account and click on the avatar in the top left corner of the screen.
  • Select “My Profile” from the menu. Alternatively, on desktop, click on your profile name in the top right of the menu.
  • Click on “Posts,” which will bring up a list of all posts you have made.
  • Click on the post you want to delete and then click the three dots in the top right corner.
  • Under the menu that pops up, select “Delete Post.”
  • Repeat this action with all posts, then follow the same instructions for the “Comments” tab, where all of your past comments and replies to other users’ posts will be aggregated.
Prepare to hit this button quite a bit if you’ve been an active Reddit user.

Deleting Social Media: How To Delete A Reddit Account

Though comments and posts can be deleted through the mobile app, account deactivation is only possible from a web-based browser following the steps below:

  • Once you’ve logged into your Reddit account on a computer, click on the avatar at the top of the page.
  • Select “Account Settings” from the drop-down menu.
  • Click “Deactivate Account.” Alternatively, you can click this link.
  • If you used your Google account or Apple ID to create your Reddit account, be sure to scroll down to the “Connected Accounts” section and click “Disconnect” next to the external account you used to sign up.
  • To confirm your account deactivation, you will need to enter your Reddit password. If you don’t have a password, you’ll be asked to create one.
There are a few things to check off before your account is deactivated.

For a more complete look at deactivating and/or deleting your Reddit account, check out our comprehensive guide available here.

Deleting Your Pinterest Account

Founded in 2009, Pinterest offers users a digital scrapbook for saving images, GIFs, and videos on virtual bulletin boards for future access. Though it doesn’t offer the same level of interactive connection as other social media sites, users can follow other users with common interests or styles to see their latest “pins” in their home feed.

Unfortunately, an individual’s Pinterest boards can also reveal an intimate glimpse into their tastes, life events, and more—not to mention the opportunity for data breaches and other cybercrime.

These are the two options you want to check out.

Like many other social media sites, Pinterest gives departing users the option to temporarily deactivate or permanently delete their accounts. If you opt for deactivation, your account won’t be visible to the public, but your information will remain on Pinterest’s servers, so deleting your account is the only way to fully ensure the security of your personal data.

Deleting Social Media: How To Deactivate A Pinterest Account

To deactivate your Pinterest account:

  • Log into your Pinterest account
  • Click the down arrow icon in the top right corner.
  • Select Settings from the drop-down menu.
  • From the list on the left, Click Account Settings.
  • Look under Account Changes, choose Deactivate Account and click Next.
  • Provide your reason for deactivation and click Deactivate Account.
  • To restore your account, simply log back in.
Deactivating your Pinterest is easy.

If you’re ready to close your Pinterest account, your public profile will be deactivated immediately, but it takes 14 days for your account to be permanently closed. If you change your mind within this 14-day period, you can log in and Pinterest will send you a link to reactivate your account.

Deleting Social Media: How To Delete A Pinterest Account

To delete your account:

  • Log into your account and Click the down arrow icon in the top right corner.
  • Choose Settings from the drop-down menu.
  • Click on Account Settings on the left side of the page.  
  • Under Account Changes, pick Close Account.
  • Choose a reason for leaving, click Next and then Send Email.
  • You will receive an email at the address associated with your account with a link inside to confirm your decision to delete.  
Deleting your Pinterest is just as easy.

Looking to go beyond deleting social media accounts? Get your data automatically removed from dozens of people search websites and data brokers, and avoid hate raids, for less than the cost of a Netflix subscription with Removaly.

Final Thoughts on Deleting Social Media in 2022

As social media sites have proliferated over the last two decades, they have become almost inextricably entwined with our daily lives. We use them to connect with friends and family, follow the news, organize events, search for jobs and argue with strangers.

However, many of us have developed an uncomfortable ambivalence regarding social media, both at an individual and broader cultural level. For some, the negative aspects of social media—including privacy concerns and diminished mental health—have come to outweigh the benefits. If you’ve reached that point, a social media cleanse may be the best thing you can do for yourself in 2022.  

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