If you want to leave the world of Facebook behind and remove all traces of your presence on the site, you’ll need to permanently delete your account. Deleting your account will permanently remove your presence from the site, including the likes, comments, photos and posts you made while a member. While other users won’t be able to see your comments, they still may remain in Facebook’s hands.

What Gets Erased

Deleting your account removes all of your content from Facebook, including the comments you’ve made on your own posts or those of others. Facebook says that after deleting your account you can’t retrieve anything you’ve added, and that no user will be able to access any data you’ve added to the site. While Facebook uses the term "delete" for when you remove comments directly from a post, the company says these pieces of information are only permanently deleted when you delete your account.

What Facebook Keeps

While deleting your account removes your access to Facebook content immediately, it can take up to 90 days for Facebook to remove your past comments and other posts from other people’s pages. Even after Facebook removes your comments, it may still retain a record of the comment that you’ve made on its servers. The National Security Agency’s PRISM program has access to these servers, so it may also have a copy of your comments, according to a June 2013 article in The Guardian.

Saving Your Data

If you want to keep your Facebook data, including comments and posts you’ve interacted with, you can download your information from Facebook. To do this, click the gear-shaped settings icon and click “Account Settings.” Click the “General” tab and then click “Download a copy of your Facebook data." Finally, click “Start My Archive” to begin your download. The data you download also includes information you can’t normally see, such as the ads you’ve clicked on.

Deactivation Versus Deletion

If you want to remove some of your presence from Facebook but not delete the comments you’ve made in the past, try using the service’s Deactivate setting. When you deactivate your account, Facebook will remove your Timeline and related information. This means comments you’ve made on your own posts will disappear, but comments you’ve made on others' posts remain visible. Deactivation is also not permanent; if you change your mind, you can reactivate your account and get all of your friends and Timeline content back.