Social media has been going through something of a revival of late, but not all of us are happy with the change. To some, what once felt like thriving and supportive communities now feel like another chore. So if you've found yourself increasingly offline, is now the moment to pull the plug? Here's our guide to deleting your social media accounts in 2023.
It used to be that Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook were great places to network, find new clients, and get inspired. But changing algorithms and more competition have left creatives scrabbling for 'likes' and engagement in a battle that increasingly feels fruitless. Coupled with Twitter recently rebranding as X and alternative platforms not gaining the same momentum, it feels like the golden days of social media might be over.
If you've been thinking of deleting some or all of your accounts, we've prepped this guide to help you through the process. We'll look at Facebook, Instagram and Threads, and X (formerly Twitter), along with LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok and YouTube. Before you do anything else, though, you might want to download a copy of your data.
Not quite sure? Many options below allow you to 'deactivate' rather than completely destroy. So if you change your mind, you can keep your accounts. Please note, in most of the following cases, we've focused on accessing these accounts via the desktop unless we state otherwise.
Before you do anything else, have a read through Facebook's Help Centre guidelines on what it means to permanently delete your account. If you still wish to proceed, follow these instructions:
If you're deleting Facebook through Accounts Centre, then:
If you're deleting Facebook through your Facebook settings:
Have you changed your mind? If it's been less than 30 days since you initiated the deletion, you can cancel your account deletion. But be warned, after 30 days, your account and all of your information will be permanently deleted, and you won't be able to retrieve your information.
For Facebook Pages, the instructions for deletion are slightly different. Firstly, you'll need to have Facebook access with full control of your Page. When you request to delete it, Facebook will unpublish or deactivate your Page immediately, but it won't be permanently gone until 30 days have passed. Here's how to go about it:
If you change your mind, you must reactivate your Page to cancel the deletion. But you can only do so within 30 days. From your main profile, click your profile photo in the top right of Facebook, then select Settings & Privacy, and click Settings. Click Privacy in the left menu, then click Your Facebook information. Next to Reactivation, click View. Click Reactivate next to the Page to reactivate it and cancel the deletion.
Fans of the new Threads take note! Deleting your Instagram account will also automatically remove you from Meta's latest platform, as the pair are linked. And the same applies the other way around.
If you're aware of this and still want to press the red button, then deleting your Instagram and Threads account is rather straightforward.
To permanently delete your account from the Accounts Centre:
After your account has been deleted, you can sign up again with the same username or add that username to another account – as long as a new person on Instagram hasn't taken it.
If you're accessing X from the desktop, deleting X is easy.
To delete or temporarily deactivate your Pinterest account, you must:
TikTok requires you to delete your account via its app.
To close your LinkedIn account, follow these steps:
If you've got a YouTube channel you want to delete:
If you'd like to remove yourself from YouTube completely, then follow these instructions:
You might want to remove yourself from social media for many reasons. Whether you have privacy concerns, want to look after your mental health, or are just not getting the same return on investment anymore.
Understand that many creatives feel the same way and are leaving these mainstream platforms in droves. Yes, they might be trying out alternatives like Mastodon and BlueSky, but these aren't gaining quite the same momentum as their counterparts. And is anyone likely to pay for them if they do become successful? These networks are complicated and expensive to run, after all.
In which case, you might be happy to continue with X, Meta and LinkedIn. Perhaps reassessing your relationships with them rather than deleting them forever. And that's ok. It's whatever works for you.
Wherever you find yourself in 2023, we hope you find a healthier and happier relationship with social media if total annihilation isn't the right option.
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