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How do I delete my Facebook account?

As The Huffington Post points out, the fifth most common thing people have been Googling how to do lately is delete their Facebook account. Are people getting fed up with how much time they spend on it? Have the recent round of changes (linking your Facebook account to many other websites you visit and sharing all of that web activity with your friends) made it feel too invasive?

I confess that sometimes I wish there were a way to delete one’s account altogether and that I had the guts to do it. But I’d only do it if all my family and close friends stopped using Facebok too and went back to email to share photos and news with each other. For now I’ll have to be satisfied with the occasional breaks I take from it when I’m off the Internet completely.

By the way, I do know how to deactivate my Facebook account. I’ve done it before, when I gave it up for Lent. But that’s not permanent. You simply reactivate it and all your content and your friend network are reinstated. I don’t think I’d have been brave enough to delete it if I hadn’t known that safety net were there.

And if you’re wondering how to do this, in the current version of Facebook, click on Account > Account Settings, then next to the bottom option (“Deactivate Account”) click on the “deactivate” link. They will do all they can to change your mind. First a message: “Are you sure you want to deactivate your account? Your 635 friends will no longer be able to keep in touch with you.” Then pictures of some of your friends with “Steve will miss you” and “Terry will miss you” etc. And if that isn’t enough to dissuade you, they require you to answer the question “Why are you deactivating” before they’ll let you do it. They’ve got a counter-argument for each of the common reasons which will show up once you click on it, and they’re hoping once you see that, you will click Cancel instead of following through with your intention. For example, Reason: “I spend too much time using Facebook.” Solution: “One way to control your interaction with Facebook is to limit the number of emails you receive from us. You can control what emails you receive here.” It takes a lot of courage to run that gauntlet and deactivate anyway.

I’d love to hear from anyone else who has ever done this. How was your experience of being away from it for a while? Did you come back, and if so, why?