The recent Cambridge Analytica breach brought the issue of social media security to the national forefront. The massive revelation that the data firm gained private personal data through tens of millions of Facebook users has unsurprisingly sparked some users to delete their accounts.
The scandal is just one recent example of the major security risks that come from participation in social media networks. Hackers have in the past also gained access to data and personal information for users of other social sites like Linkedin, Twitter and Snapchat.
In truth, any online account that includes your personal information or sensitive details carries risk of getting hacked. You’ll notice that the majority of sites provide options for users to further secure their accounts through methods like two-step verification to help bolster protection.
But while some users are quick to cut cords in the name of security, others cling to social media for its benefits: career networking, online communities, far-reaching expression, access to living opportunities, and staying connected with friends and family. Some choose to brave risks for the potential gains.
Others may be ready to call it quits in theory, but get discouraged when facing the prospect of actually going through the work of deleting an account.
If you do want to log off good, for one reason or another, we’ve outlined steps for deleting accounts from some of the most popular social networks.
Facebook notably provides options for both deactivation and deletion. Deactivation keeps your account ready for a quick return to the site. Deletion instigates the process of wiping your stored data and prevents Facebook from accessing your information, as long as you don’t login for the two-week quick reactivation period.
To skip over the deactivation process and go right to deleting is a bit trickier than you might think. Web searches will likely bring you to the deactivation page. Instead, use this link to head straight to deletion. Hit Delete My Account and check your email for confirmation.
To more fully wipe your presence before deletion, you may want to consider disconnecting Facebook from other apps and wiping your activity history.
You also have the option of downloading your Facebook data to keep for your own records before deletion.
Similarly to Facebook, you can begin your process by downloading your Twitter archive for posterity.
Then, you can start to follow the steps toward deletion. (In this instance, you will want to follow the path toward “deactivation.”)
Click your photo icon and head to Settings and privacy. Then, scroll to the very bottom of the page, where you’ll see a link to Deactivate your account. Click and follow the prompts to finish the deletion process.
As is true with Facebook and Twitter, deleting your LinkedIn removes information attached to your current profile. If you use LinkedIn in a professional capacity, be prepared to lose connections and endorsements.
To initiate the deleting process, head to the Settings and Privacy page. In the account tab, go to Account Management. Find the Closing Your Linkedin Account option and click change. You’ll be asked to select a reason for departing the site. Hit next, enter your password, and choose Close account.
The main thing to note here is you can’t delete your Snapchat account from your mobile app. You’ll have to go to a desktop and head to Snapchat.com.
Once logged in, head to the Delete Your Account page in Accounts. You’ll have to enter your login information, and then choose Delete My Account.
Instagram also has an option for temporary disabling or deleting. If you want to say goodbye for good, you’ll be looking for permanent deletion.
To start, you’ll again need to a head to a computer. You can’t delete your account from the Instagram app.
On a browser, head to the Instagram Delete Account page. You’ll be asked to let the company know your reason for leaving, and to enter a password. Then you can opt for account deletion.