Preparing to Delete Facebook Is Hard Work

It’s hard work to delete Facebook. I resolved to do it a month ago. On January 31, 2019, the day I had planned to click “delete,” I was in Austin to do some Micro.blog work with Manton. I felt a bit overwhelmed that day, and decided to postpone it a day or two so that I could make sure all my Facebook ducks were in a row.

But then I realized I had much more to do. I had set up an email newsletter for people who wanted to stay in touch via the occasional news and guinea pig photos. (I’m calling it a friendsletter.) But I wanted to be sure I found at least one alternative way to connect with Facebook friends I did not want to lose touch with. So I’ve been combing through my Friends list and confirming emails and/or phone numbers. I also ordered some custom photo postcards to share via the postal mail. Email me your address if you want one! (jeanpdx@icloud.com)

I’m ready to click “delete” now, but I thought I would share one more post with tips on preparing to delete a Facebook account, before my account is no longer accessible. This Mashable article had the best tips. Here are a few steps you will want to take before deleting.

1) Download your archive.

Go to Settings > Your Facebook Information > Download Your Information to request a download. There are two formats: JSON and HTML. You should download them both. If you decide you want to move your data to another platform (using Ditchbook, for example), you’ll need the JSON files. The HTML files are good for viewing your archive in a browser.

You have the option to specify the quality of media files included. Even if you choose the highest quality, the photos in your archive are still going to be crap. Hopefully, you still have your originals somewhere!

I recommend that everyone download these files now and have a look at them. The JSON files in particular, recording every iota of activity, are a stark reminder of how every little thing you do is noted. My downloaded archives were about 300 MB each, by the way.

2) Sign out from any apps that are using Facebook or posting on your behalf.

I never trusted the idea of using Facebook to sign into apps and websites. This paid off for me. There was only one app that was still listed, EventBrite, but I have an email-based account with them.

(The Mashable article also recommends deleting your Facebook activity history, but this is really a setup for a joke. You would have to click on “Edit” for each item and delete it manually. “But, the option is there, so if you have an eon or two of extra time at your disposal, knock yourself out.”)

Even if you aren’t planning to delete Facebook, it’s probably worthwhile to think about how you would do it. Maybe the perspective will impact your Facebook habits going forward, so that if the time comes, you won’t have Facebook more entangled in your online life than necessary.

So this time I’m really really going to do it. I’ll be clicking that delete button in two days, giving my Facebook friends a little time to see this post, in case they are interested.

(photo: Grace would like you to sign up for our email friendsletter!)

Jean MacDonald @macgenie