Lessons in becoming social media free!

Source: Unsplash.com & Billy Lingard

Like many of you, if not all of you, I became entranced by social media and the metaphorical delights it had to offer. I was born in 1997 (making me 23 at the time of writing). I have been using social media since it became a platform we can roughly recognise today, Facebook. When I started using Facebook, social media wasn’t a commonly used term, and this platform was considered an ideal way to communicate with school friends and an even better way to harvest a virtual farm! As the years rolled on, I, like most, would adopt every new and upcoming platform that came to exist: Google+ (RIP), Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, the list goes on. When you list them out, you realise the ridiculousness of using this many accounts/apps with the essential purpose of communicating with friends and family. If we are honest with ourselves, the purpose of communication has been all but lost, and the new essential purpose is mindless scrolling for marketing revenue. After years of being locked in this cycle, I decided it was time to leave. I started with the obligatory ‘Delete Facebook’ and decided to test the water in this new social-media free frontier.

Which accounts were deleted, and how easy was it?

I will briefly describe the accounts I have and which ones I have deleted. I will also tell you how to delete your account on each platform to understand how easy it is. The exact method may have changed when you read this, as these companies don’t exactly want to make deleting your account super easy. Importantly before discussing how to delete accounts, I did this over a few months, deleting 1 or 2 accounts per month and testing the water to check I was comfortable doing so. I have previously tried going cold-turkey, but this didn’t work.

Facebook

This platform was the first I wanted to remove. I’m sure you will have heard the controversy that constantly surrounds Facebook. This was also the platform that was leading me to feel the most disassociated with real life. On Facebook, I would continuously see far right or extreme views that were unchecked and largely false and seemed always to lead to hatred. For these reasons, along with the fact I rarely used it anyway, I deleted my Facebook account. To delete (dependent if on mobile or desktop, I’ll show you mobile.)

Tap the burger menu, which looks like three-line stacked atop each other > hit Settings > Account Ownership and Control > Deactivation and Deletion (Note: deactivation will hide your account but won’t delete it) > Delete Account > Continue to Account Deletion > Delete Account.

I’m on board with a failsafe to ensure nobody deletes things they didn’t want to be deleted, but this is ludicrous; it takes at least 7 steps to delete your account from the home page. Now, something else which seems borderline illegal, Facebook can take up to 90 days to remove all content related to your account (though it won’t be public). Suffice to say, I have felt no remorse for deleting this account.

Snapchat

Deleting Snapchat wasn’t particularly difficult for me as I literally never used it. The only person I ever bothered adding was my (now ex) girlfriend. I don’t have a huge grudge against Snap as I did with Facebook. However, I have privacy concerns, but they are usually related to the user, not the company. To delete Snapchat, and yes, this will be just as ludicrous as Facebook.

Go to Snapchat.com > Support (in the footer) > My Account and Security > Account Information > Delete My Account > Proceed with on-screen information > Enter details to confirm deletion.

It takes a little longer to delete than Facebook. However, the time taken remove your account permanently from their servers is shorter at just 30 days.

TikTok

Like Snapchat, I had no aversion to deleting TikTok. Whilst I used it probably most of the accounts I’ve mentioned so far, I used it for endless scrolling and the odd chuckle at a video meme. My motivations for removing TikTok were privacy concerns of Bytedance and their company ownership. And a desire to get back the time I was wasting on lads’ banter in the lobby. On one good note, I found TikTok the second most straightforward account to delete all accounts with the easiest to come.

Hit the menu icon, which may be three lines or dots on the top right > Manage My Account > Delete Account > Delete Account (IN RED THIS TIME — ominous) > Delete (in case you forgot).

It is worth noting that I also deleted dating apps Tinder and Bumble during this same deletion phase. Whilst these are dating apps and not social media apps, I wanted to remove them for a similar reason. However, I won’t go into detail as that’s not what this post is about.

The Journey so far.

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed Twitter and Instagram are not included in this list. This is because I still have them. Instagram will be next. I plan to delete Instagram in June on-going with my monthly deleting spree. However, if you are interested, this is how to delete Instagram. As a Facebook company, I wouldn’t expect any less.

Hit the same burger menu as with Facebook > Settings icon (looks like a cog sometimes) > Help > Help Center > Manage Your Account > Delete Your Account > How do I delete my Instagram Account (yes, seriously…) > Delete Account > Choose a reason > Permanently Delete Account > Deep Breath.

Regarding Twitter, I’ll be honest I’m not 100% sure how I feel. I’ve never really considered Twitter social media like the others. I have it locked, with very few followers, and generally use it to say what I would say here but in a short character limit. However, I have until July to come to terms with this (sheds tear). Again, if you want to go straight ahead and delete Twitter, it is relatively straight forward considering the above.

Bring up the left menu > Settings and Privacy > Deactivate Account > Deactivate (this will be the end, or you may need to enter a password.)

Be sure you know you want to delete Twitter before going ahead, it really is quite a quick and straightforward process.

Final notes on the process of deletion, make sure you have backed up any data, images, or messages you want to keep. Once they are gone, they are gone. Also, and this has caught me out several times, don’t use ‘Sign in with (company name)’ buttons. These will sign you in and cancel the deletion if done within 30 days. The same goes for logging in to check if it has gone. Just wait 30 days from deleting your account and then check.

Conclusion: How do I feel now.

I started this journey wanting to delete everything immediately. I tamed myself as I knew this would inevitably lead to enormous FOMO (fear of missing out). I stuck with my ‘delete an account per month’ plan, and so far, this has been a great plan. I’m left with two accounts, Twitter, and Instagram, and I’m itching to delete Instagram ASAP. There are lessons to be learned to ensure that you do not accidentally reactivate your account, avoid clicking deactivate where possible in favour of DELETE. Finally, enjoy the process. With less time spent scrolling and getting angry at people I disagree with; I’m reading a lot more and writing again. I love and spending more time with the people around me who matter.

I’m a blog and article writer based in Sheffield, UK. I write about my life and passions.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store