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As Facebook appears immune to the ongoing row over personal data privacy issues, Dr Search shows you how to delete your Facebook account or how to deactivate your Facebook account.

facebook how to delete your account or deactivate your account

Facebook's privacy policy is a massive 5,830 words long. As the New York Times recently pointed out, the Constitution of the United Statesof America is just 4,543.

In recent months, Facebook has made a number of revisions to its privacy policy that makes a growing amount of your personal information public by default; you have to opt out if your want to keep your information private, or share it only with a trusted group of friends.

Committing "Facebook suicide", as it's known, is a nuclear option- but you do need to plough through 50 different settings and around 170 different options if you want to control every single aspect of your account.

Here, I look at how to deactivate and delete your Facebook account and the difference between the two as well as how to lockdown some of the most important privacy settings on your profile:

Deactivating your Facebook account Deactivating your account simply involves going on a temporary hiatus; it does not permanently delete your personal information. If you deactivate your account, you immediately become invisible to other Facebook users, who will no longer be able to access your profile.

However, Facebook only "saves" your profile on file, so that if you choose to reactivate your account in future, then all of your friends, photos, lists of interests, games and other preferences, are automatically restored so your account looks just as it did before you deactivated it.

Deactivating an account is fairly simple: when you're logged in to Facebook, click on the Account tab on the top right-hand side of the page. From the drop-down list, select "Account Settings". The final option on the page is "Deactivate" click on the link to be taken through to the deactivation page.

Facebook tries to tempt you in to reconsidering, telling you that your friends "will no longer be able to keep in touch with you"; it also asks you to say why you are deactivating your account. At the foot of the page is box that allows you to opt out of receiving future emails from Facebook.

If you do not tick this box, then you will continue to receive email notifications every time a former Facebook friend tags you in a photo, invites you to an event, or asks you to join a group. Ticking the box means you will no longer receive these messages.

To reactivate your Facebook account, log in to the site using your usual email address and password. You will then be sent an email to that address containing a link which, when clicked, restores your Facebook profile in its entirety.

Delete permanently your Facebook account If you've had enough of being asked to take part in endless quizzes or are simply concerned about privacy issues, then completely deleting your Facebook account is the nuclear option. When you delete your account, Facebook promises to discard all "personally identifiable information" associated with that account from its databases that's things like names, email addresses, phone numbers, postal addresses, instant-messenger screen names etc etc.

However, Facebook says that copies of some material, such as photos, may remain on its servers for "technical reasons", but that the material is "completely inaccessible" to other Facebook users, and is completely disassociated from any information that makes it possible to link that piece of content back to an individual user.

If you deactivate or delete your account, says Facebook, it will no longer use any content associated with it, either. Committing Facebook suicide, though, naturally enough is not made easy. It's not quite as simple as just clicking a few links to eradicate your social networking presence. Instead, you need to send a message to Facebook, requesting the permanent deletion of your account.

Click or paste the following link into your browser window: http://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=12271 It will take you through to a Help page that describes the difference between deactivating and deleting an account.

At the bottom of the second paragraph is a button link, which takes you through to a page where you submit your deletion request. Then click on this link, read the warning entitled "Delete my account", and then click Submit. It can take up to 14 days to permanently delete your Facebook account.

For more information on how to control your account settings, please click here now.

This article first appeared on the Search Clinic Blog on 18 May 2010

Good Luck!