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HOW TO: Delete Social Networking Account on Facebook, Twitter, Google, Myspace and Wikipedia

Have you ever tried to delete your social networking account? In some cases, it is a simple process. You click a few buttons, confirm and a day or so later you are wiped from the database. But with the creation of more intensive websites, it is becoming increasingly harder to delete your account. In some cases it may seem next to impossible, as many of us have found out in the past. Why do they make it so hard? Because they don’t want you to go, and hope that making it difficult will cause you to second guess your decision.

It may seen diabolical, but it is a common corporate practice in all ways of marketing. Do you remember that old cable company you switched to your new provider from? You probably still get emails asking you to come back, offering special deals if you sign up again. See that loyalty shopping card in your wallet or on your keychain? Those magazine club cards offering a years worth subscription for the cost of a month? Think of these things as little reminders, which social networking sites utilize by making it harder to walk away.

But just because it is difficult doesn’t mean it can’t be done. If you are looking to get rid of that social networking profile, here is how it is done.

Facebook

The largest social networking site on the web, this this also the hardest to get away from. Not only is it a constant temptation because of its easy access, far reaching useability and the fact that there is a ‘Like’ button on nearly every page on the Internet. But it is also next to impossible to get through permanently deleting your account without ripping your hair out from frustration.

There are two ways that you can ‘delete’. One is actually a temporary deactivation, which can be reactivated at any time. This is easy to do; just go to your account settings and hit ‘Deactivate Account’. From there, follow the directions. This will remove you from all searches and people’s friends lists. They will no longer be able to view your account, until you decide to reactivate it. When you do, you can switch it on again and everything will be like you left it.

To permanently delete your account, you have to actually contact Facebook. Once you have submitted a request it will take up to two weeks to confirm it and actually terminate it along with all information stored. In the meantime, if you sign in even by accident, or do anything that connects to it such as hit a ‘Like’ button on a website, it will automatically cancel the request. So you have to be extra careful, and it would be better to wait between 4 – 6 weeks before doing anything to confirm it, such as trying to sign in.

Myspace

Myspace is a lot easier than Facebook, but it still takes a few days to work it out. Basically, you can go to your account settings and select the option to delete. From there, an email will be sent to the address you signed up under. But it won’t come right away and you will have to wait anywhere from 24 – 72 hours for it to show up in your Inbox. I can only assume this is to give you a chance to think better about it, or maybe it has to go through an approval process.

Once you have the email, click the confirmation and it will take you back to Myspace. That will ask if you are sure about deletion, and you can select yes or no. It will then delete it permanently, and to get on you will have to have a new account.

Twitter

Twitter is blissfully easy to delete compared to other sites. All you have to do is go to your account settings and click the button to deactivate.

This is permanent and can’t be undone, which is a problem if you change your mind. The only real issue is that it can take between 4 – 6 weeks for everything to pass off of their system. So until that time you may have some searchable connections to the site.

Google

Google is the dominating force on the Internet, and it has expanded to take over every facet of our daily lives in forms of smartphone and other services that make things a little easier. You would think that it would be hard to get rid of your account with them, but it isn’t. Almost everything is connected to a central account (email, reviews, docs, even YouTube), so you only have to get rid of that one unless you have a specialized account such as Analytics or Adsense.

Go to your main account and click on Edit. From there you can see all services you have through Google and you can select and delete whatever you choose. Some things will still be accessible, such as any Docs that have been shared with someone else. But otherwise it should take care of most services. Anything else can be taken care of individually.

Wikipedia

Forget it, you can’t get rid of a Wikipedia account. This isn’t a surprise, as all information on the site has to be accredited and sourced. If you were to allow people to delete accounts, then the contributions made on that account would be orphaned and no one could be held accountable for the information. It would seriously undermine the credibility of the open-discussion format it was built on, or damage public domain items that have already been used.

You can, however, change your user name and delete your profile and talk pages. This will remove a certain amount of your tracks, which can be helpful.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by neys

Posted in Social Networking. Tags: , , , , ,

8 Replies

  1. Nilla Haluska Dec 11th 2010

    This article is very helpful. Thanks for writing it. It gives me a realistic perspective about these sites (where I have tried to delete an account or two and pulled my hair out LOL).

  2. Annie Wallace Dec 15th 2010

    Thanks for stopping by, Nilla! I am glad it seemed useful!

  3. Claire Dec 16th 2010

    Thanks for the helpful instructions, Annie.

    There is also a great service available for people who don’t want to (or can’t) delete their accounts on their own. Any account.

    Go to www.abine.com/deleteme

    “DeleteMe” is a great choice for those who need additional help.

  4. On http://www.accountkiller.com there are instructions to remove your account on many more websites. It includes a blacklist of services that don’t allow account removal at all, which is good to know if you care for your privacy.


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