Facebook is one of the most popular social media platform as it has more than a billion users. More than a seventh of the world uses this social network to connect with their friends and loved ones and engage in a whole bunch of other activities. With all of its good features, it has some drawbacks. You might have heard many thing about the privacy concerns on Facebook and you may think about deactivating your account.
Facebook is not suitable for everyone, Whether you are experiencing some serious FOMO (“Fear of Missing Out”), are tired of comparing your life to that of your Facebook friends, or just want to end your social media addiction, there’s a good chance you may be ready for a Facebook break. However, taking a break and deactivating your Facebook differs from erasing your profile entirely. In a nutshell, deactivating your Facebook is temporary, deleting your account is permanent.
Deactivating Facebook vs. Deleting Facebook
We need to differentiate between deactivating and deleting Facebook. You might have heard that they are used interchangeably, though they are not the same.
As we mentioned above, deactivating is a temporary measure while deletion is more permanent. In this article we are going to cover both of them as they have different consequences for your personal privacy. Generally speaking, deactivation means that there is still personal information about you online, though deleting it does not mean all your details will be erased.
This question may come in you mind whether deactivating Facebook erase all your personal data. The answer to this question is “No”. Facebook deactivation puts your data in stasis. Whenever you want to return to Facebook, your profile still exists. Your personal information will still be held by the company, but your timeline becomes invisible. If you sign in back, everything will be restored. And that’s because Facebook wants you back.
When you deactivate your Facebook, all the thing you are doing is stopping your profile from being publicly visible. If all you are concerned about is that your peers or potential strangers knowing too much about you, then it would be a smart move to deactivate your Facebook.
Your comments on other people’s posts won’t disappear. However, your profile picture will be replaced by a default Facebook image (i.e. the gray silhouette) and no one will be able to click on your name to get to your timeline.
So what happens to Messenger? When you deactivate Facebook, it will ask whether you want to stop using the instant messaging service too. Yes, you can use Messenger without having a Facebook account. Your messages won’t vanish, even if you deactivate. In fact, they won’t vanish if you delete Facebook either: instead, they will simply read “Facebook User”.
As we mentioned earlier, deactivation won’t erase everything, so what can you do? Does deleting Facebook erase your personal data? Actually, deleting it sounds like a solid option, except some data persists. When you request account deletion for your profile, it takes 30 days to entirely vanish. Therefore, Facebook gives you leeway during this period for the case you decide not to leave the Facebook and want to comeback. However, it takes 90 days for the company to delete your data. In the time it takes to get rid of your account, no other parties can access your data.
Your timeline will no longer exist. You’ll automatically be taken off any pages you “like”. You won’t be a member of any groups. Your online persona will effectively disappear.
However, that doesn’t mean everything will be deleted. Some information will be kept, albeit stripped of personal identifiers. You become a demographic. Facebook and its third-parties use those statistics.
Your comments aren’t deleted either. Think of them as flotsam and jetsam. Let’s say you commented on a MakeUseOf Facebook post a few years ago—that will still exist.
Crucially, your log data (a record of all you do, including times you log in and groups you frequent) remains. Your name isn’t attached to that data though.
Essentially, this is the same thing that happens if you deactivate your account. Your profile picture is replaced by the default icon. Normally, if you click on someone’s name in the comments section, you will be redirected to their timeline. The link vanishes once you delete Facebook because there’s nothing for it to lead to.
By Deactivating and Deleting Facebook, What Happens to Tags in Facebook Photos?
The same thing happens to any photos you’re tagged in. It doesn’t matter you deactivate or delete your Facebook. Deleting your account doesn’t affect other people’s.
Tags will revert to Plain Text and the link to your profile will expire. If you reactivate your account, these links including comments will become active again.
Facebook can still recognize you based on tagged photos. How is it possible? By using facial recognition software called DeepFace , your face is stored as a neural network by noting distinct features and relative measurements. This way your face becomes a data composite, which Facebook uses to suggest matches in images.
Once you’re tagged in photos, Facebook knows what you look like. Because those tags aren’t deleted, your data set will be kept.
Fortunately, such tags aren’t always right. Scroll through your tagged pictures and you’ll see an array of inaccuracies. Friends might have tagged you in something just to make sure you see it. Or they’ll have added the tag anywhere, muddying the water.
And that’s fine because Facebook does this automatically. They just use smart algorithms to suggest tags; no one will actually be looking for you individually.
If a friend’s account (or your own, if you have only deactivated Facebook) is hacked, however, a cybercriminal could, in theory, use their intuition to work out exactly what you look like. But why? Personally Identifiable Information (PII)—like your name, address, and date of birth—can be useful to hackers, but recognizing your face won’t do them much good.
No, you won’t be untagged from photos, but generally, there’s very little cause for concern.
What Happens to Third-Party Facebook Logins?
Many services now let you sign in using a Facebook account. These include popular apps like Spotify, Etsy, and LinkedIn, so what happens when you delete or deactivate Facebook? You’ll automatically sign out of these services, and further steps will hinge on individual apps.
It’s worth contacting the third-parties you intend to continue using in the future. In many cases, you’ll have to create new accounts.
Can they still access your data after deleting your profile? Facebook asserts that, once you begin the deletion process, no other services can see your personal information. That’s definitely a positive.
But third-parties aren’t obliged to get rid of their data. It just means they can’t get more private information from your social media page. Deleting Facebook certainly doesn’t equate to deleting other accounts.
You might wonder, then, what details they get from Facebook. They can at least access what’s on your public profile, meaning your name, profile picture, and anything else you’ve not hidden when managing your Facebook privacy settings.
It also depends on the third-party. They harvest information most pertinent to their business. Trip Advisor, for instance, can present adverts to you based on where your friends have recently traveled to or reviewed. Tinder judges your interests based on “likes”, so you might not get the most accurate matches without connecting to Facebook.
How Does Facebook Spy on You?
If you are serious about your privacy, you will need to cleanse your smartphone. Because Facebook now owns a few services that gobble up data.
Many of Facebook’s acquisitions have been conglomerated into the social network itself, like Face.com and Bloomsbury AI. You don’t need to be worry about these if you delete Facebook.
The other purchases of the company can carry on collecting data about you, with that information ending back at Facebook Inc. Facebook Messenger carries its parent company in its name. You can easily limit the personal details you share if you don’t want Facebook knowing much about you. Then Instagram comes after Facebook ad it seems like a great way to share your photography portfolio and chat with friends.
That’s without mentioning Facebook’s costliest ever acquisition, WhatsApp!
If you really want to escape the Facebook umbrella, you will likely need to uninstall a few useful apps. It is up to you to decide whether it’s really worth it.
Are You Safe When not Having Facebook?
This wont’t be as extensive as an actual Facebook user. This isn’t your sole concern. Deleting Facebook restricts what data is collected, yet the network extends beyond its own site.
If you are not sure about deleting Facebook, first try deactivating it. Because leaving the platform entirely is a big step.
If you try deactivating your Facebook, your data is not publicly available but Facebook still stores it. Your details will be deleted after 90 days if you delete your account, though traces will remain.