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Finding it hard to Delete Facebook? Babysteps for the addicted to get on the #DeleteFacebook train.

Sarah EaglesfieldMar 30, 2018, 7:44:53 PM

My friends used to call me "eccentric" when I started deactivating my Facebook account every summer. From 2008, it became an annual tradition, the day the clocks changed, I'd deactivate, and I'd reactivate the day the clocks changed back for winter.

I missed out on a lot of social invites, and lost contact with a bunch of people, but those who wanted to find would find me: I remained active on Twitter, my email address was easy to remember, and my phone number wasn't impossible to find. Still, there were those friends who never kept in touch, apart from through Facebook, and we'd go six months a year without talking.

At first it was always difficult. I had to block my access to Facebook at the "hosts" level to stop me from logging back in and posting something. As time went by, it got easier, and easier - and this year, I've chosen not to deactivate. I know I can keep Facebook open for communication without sharing too much information about myself

If I do choose to interact with someone, I now have a script that will delete that interaction 90 days later. I don't "like" any pages, except for those of companies I'm involved with, and I'm not a member of any groups. All the apps I use to log into other websites are set to "Only Me", and my friend list isn't visible.

Here are some baby steps you can take before graduating to a full time exile:

1.  Remove the Facebook App and Messenger from your mobile.

You don't need these apps. If you get the urge to visit Facebook whilst you're on the move, you can use your phone browser - then request the desktop site if you want to check your messages.

2. Download your archive, then delete your old activity

If you're a sentimental type, you'll want to download your Facebook Archive before you delete anything.  Then ask yourself a deep question: are any of the statuses you posted in 2008 in any way relevant to your life? If you're happy to get rid of them, use this Greasemonkey (Tampermonkey) script to remove all your activity before a certain date. I have mine set to 90 days now.


3. Use a productivity app like StayFocusd or Forest to temporarily steer you clear.

These apps prevent you from visiting certain websites for a set period of time. Whereas StayFocusd is the hard option, setting you close to impossible tasks to complete before it lets you visit a website you've blocked, Forest offers a light touch. It depends on how much self-discipline you're lacking.

4. Deactivate your Facebook account, then block yourself at hosts level from visiting.

This is the most hard-core option you can take without actually deleting your account. Deactivating your account still lets Facebook keep your data, but friends won't be able to see your timeline or message you until you reactivate.

Settings -> Manage Account -> Deactivate

Combine this with blocking yourself from accessing Facebook in your hosts file, and you're as good as gone.

The point where you should consider using the hosts file... I was having a bad day, okay?!

Blocking yourself from accessing Facebook in your hosts file basically means that all requests to Facebook go to a different site (or a dead page).  It just involves some text editing.

On a Mac
a) Open terminal
b) type: sudo nano /etc/hosts
c) enter your password
d) add the line: www.facebook.com
e) hit CTRL-X to exit and Y to save, then hit return to write to the file.

On Windows, edit the file C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts and add the line above. Restart your browser and you should no longer be able to access Facebook - if you want to reaccess Facebook, delete the line you added to the file.


Goodbye social life!

The other solutions will allow you to keep Facebook for keeping in touch with people whilst hiding everything else. However, when you're ready to take the big step and actually delete, the way to do it is a little hidden.

You'll need to go to this URL: https://www.facebook.com/help/delete_account

That's not quite the end though, they're not going to let you go quite that easily.

Let the game of chicken commence

Some may struggle to reach those 14 days: it's surprisingly easy to forget and go back there without thinking when it's a site you've visited for years. That's where the hosts file solution in Step 4 may come in handy, it will stop you from those absent-minded moments.


I'm happy with steps 1-3, it allows me to keep in touch with folk who haven't migrated platform, without sharing anything I don't want to share, or wasting too much time. The braver may make it all the way to step 5.

And a new challenge for you Token Rich Minds folk. Wire me 1,000 tokens between you, before 20th May 2018, and I'll live record myself deleting my Facebook account and proclaiming to everyone that I'm on MINDS. You're already 10% there.

Good luck to everyone on the path away from Facebook, your mileage may vary.