If you decide that enough is enough, how do you delete your Internet presence?


“That’s it! I’ve had enough. I’m done!”

This exclamation is present in a few settings. It often signals the end of something: such as a relationship or a Netflix subscription. When this or similar phrases are said, you know that that person has reached the end of their tether. They are annoyed. They have been pushed to the limit due to certain external influences. The end is imminent.

This notion to end it all - for the first time in the history of social media - gathered tremendous momentum in the past year. The #DeleteFacebook movement was even supported by a former Facebook executive and WhatsApp Co-Founder, Brian Acton. Furthermore, in this 2017 poll, less than one-third of Americans agreed that Facebook was a force for good and only 26% were convinced that Facebook cared about its users.

Such a huge movement against a huge company has not happened by chance, or for no reason. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has spent the past year drowning in legal battles and fines as a result of misusing user data. It truly has not been pretty over at Facebook HQ, with further accusations that they allowed the spread of fake news advertisements, which influenced the US presidential elections.

The Cambridge Analytica Scandal is what really tipped the #DeleteFacebook movement over the edge. Christopher Wylie, who exposed the recent CA scandal, pushed this notion to the fore in public consciousness. Wylie (AKA the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower) lifted the lid on the gross misuse of Facebook users' data by the company.

CA says that it “uses data to change audience behaviour” but Wylie exposed a much darker side. Unbeknown to users, their data (likes, status updates, private messages) and that of all of their friends, was sucked by malign software. One million dollars was spent on harvesting tens of millions of Facebook profiles.

This data was used to identify targeted voter groups, where specific material was then pushed onto their timelines to influence their opinion on certain matters. CA knew factors such as: what users viewed most; what part of the screen they lingered on longest; what they are most susceptible to; and, how many times it would need to be seen for an opinion to be changed. If it sounds dark it’s because it was. In Wylie’s own words, “it is a full-service propaganda machine”.

Convinced? Here’s how to delete your Facebook account.

This link will direct you to the one-stop-shop for Facebook account deletion. There are two options presented here, which are to keep the Messenger function of Facebook (thus not deleting your account and merely deactivating) and downloading all content that you have uploaded.

Unless you want some seriously cringey #ThrowbackThursdays, it’s unlikely that you will want to go through all of your downloadable content. But we recommend downloading it and keeping it safe. You never know when it could come back to bite you, or when you might want to take a trip down memory lane. If you need another hit of FB, you have 14 days to log back in and save your account from the digital graveyard. Now that Facebook is out of the way, let’s move on to deleting your wider Internet presence.

We should tread the line between our physical and digital selves very cautiously. Potential employers, online dating matches and so on will scour your social media profiles to suss you out before meeting you. We have all heard of the horror stories where jobs have been lost due to old tweets being resurrected. Let your past stay there.

To delete your Twitter account click here.

We know that it is difficult. But, if you want to delete your Internet presence, you must prise yourself away from the cute puppy Instagram accounts. If you’re ready to risk it all, and rely on the chance of bumping into real life puppies to provide your daily doses of pup-tastic pleasure, you can delete your Instagram account here.

Now that you have laid your main social media profiles to rest (RIP), take some time to think of any other platforms where you used to have an account - MySpace, anyone? - but haven’t logged into in ages. List them all and go about deleting your presence in every single one of them. Think of it as a Christmas cleanse for your digital self.

Good luck and happy cleansing!