Deleting Personal Information on Facebook

You can always manually remove your name from embarrassing Facebook photos.
... John Howard/Digital Vision/Getty Images

When it comes to personal information on Facebook, there are two ways of looking at the word "delete." If you want your information deleted so that no one can access them, including Facebook, you'll probably have to delete your account. If you just want to delete information from your Timeline and profile so that other people using Facebook can't access it, you can simply delete these details from your Timeline and profile page.

1 Deleting Details Versus Account

Deleting personal information from your Facebook account removes it from being accessed by you and your friends, but it's not always removed permanently from Facebook's servers. Facebook doesn't specify what is and isn't permanently deleted but it does give two examples. Tags in photos are retained so Facebook won't let someone tag you again. Rejected friend requests are also saved so Facebook won't keep suggesting the same person to you. Beyond this, it's unclear what's saved and what isn't, so assume everything is saved. The only way to ensure your personal information is removed from Facebook's reach is to permanently delete your account.

2 Deleting Your Account

Deleting your Facebook account deletes all of your personal information from Facebook. To do this, log into Facebook and go to the Delete My Account page. All of your information is immediately removed from Facebook's website. If you change your mind, you may be able to reactivate your account by logging in within a few days of deleting your account, but after that it's gone for good.

3 Manually Deleting Information

To delete all personal information from your Facebook profile, click the "Edit Profile" link on your Facebook home page. Some information, like your date of birth, can't be deleted, but you can set the privacy control to "Only Me" so that other users can't see it. To delete personal information from your Timeline, like your posts and posts you have been tagged in, scroll through your Timeline and click the arrow on the upper right of each post and select "Delete." To delete photos and videos, click the "Photos" tab on your Timeline, mouse over the upper right corner and then click the "Edit or Remove" button that appears. To remove a tag, click the "Report/Remove Tags" button at the top of the Photos page and select "Untag Photos."

4 Deactivating the Account

Deactivation can be a half measure to deleting your personal information from Facebook. Deactivating your Facebook account removes your account from Facebook's website, including all of your personal information, but doesn't delete it from Facebook's servers. Unlike deleting an account, you also have the option to reactivate it at any time, simply by logging back in. Even if you wait a year to reactivate your account, all of your personal details like your friends, photos, likes and profile information will be restored.

A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.