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(Pocket-lint) - Maybe it's time to delete Facebook.

If you're anything like us, you've been a user of the service for more than a decade. But you've probably developed a love-hate relationship with it, especially after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where your Facebook data may have been obtained without consent and used to influence your opinions and maybe even vote. If that's the case, then you're likely ready to say goodbye to Facebook.

It's a toxic relationship at this point. However, just because you want to part ways doesn't mean you also want to lose all your precious photos, chat histories, wall posts to others and from others, and so on. Facebook, after all, is like an online diary you've been updating regularly. It'd be a shame to throw it in the bin and lose those memories for good - all in the name of securing your personal data.

Luckily, there is a solution. Here's what you need to know.

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How to archive your Facebook profile

It’s really easy to both delete your Facebook account and save an archive of all the data on your profile. That's right. Facebook lets you download a compressed archive that contains all your memories and other information related to your account. You can keep everything from videos to your check-ins. You can even keep your facial recognition data.

You can see a full list of what's included in the archive here.

If anything, your archive reveals just how much data and personal information Facebook has on you, which is incredibly creepy and eye-opening. But that's why you're doing this, right? You're done. For good. Adios, Facebook. But before you hit that delete account button, download your archive for safe-keeping and any future perusals down memory lane.

To download your information, follow these steps:

  1. Click the arrow in the top right of Facebook (on desktop).
  2. Select Settings and Privacy, then click Settings.
  3. In the side menu, click Your Facebook Information.
  4. Next to Download Your Information, click View.
  5. To add or remove categories of data from your request, click the boxes on the right.
  6. Select other options, including:
    • The format of your download request.
    • The quality of photos, videos, and other media.
    • A specific date range of information.
  7. Click Create File to confirm the download request.
    • It will appear as Pending.
    • It may take several days for Facebook to process your download request.
  8. Once Facebook has finished preparing your download request, it'll send a notification
  9. To download a copy of data you requested:
    • Go to the Available Copies section of the Download Your Information tool.
    • Click Download and enter your password.
    • You can also click Show more to view information.

You can learn more about how to download your archive from here.

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How to delete your Facebook profile

You are now ready to delete your account. You should know that this is different from deactivating your account. A deactivated account is temporary in that it can be recovered at any time. Deleting your account is permanent. That means you won't ever be able to reactivate or retrieve any of the content or information you've added. If you'd like to permanently delete your account, click this link.

That link will take you to the official account deletion page. If it doesn't work for you, follow these steps (on desktop):

  1. Click the arrow in the top right of Facebook (on desktop).
  2. Select Settings and Privacy, then click Settings.
  3. In the side menu, click Your Facebook Information.
  4. Select Deactivation and Deletion.
  5. Choose the Deletion option and then hit Continue to Account Deletion.

Once you click “Delete My Account,” Facebook will begin to terminate it and make it inaccessible to others. The company said that it delays termination for a few days after you've requested it, and if you log back in during that period, your request will be canceled.

Now, here's the thing: Some data, like comments you’ve made on a friend’s post, could still appear after you've deleted your account. Facebook warned that it copies things like log records and keeps them on its database - but it's separated from any personal identifiers. It will take up to 90 days to fully delete your account and all the information associated with it, even if your account is inaccessible to you and others.

Why you need LastPass to secure your digital life

Those of you who would prefer to deactivate your Facebook can go here for more information about that.

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What about Facebook's other apps?

If you want to give Facebook the cold shoulder, you need to completely exit its ecosystem of other services, including Instagram and WhatsApp.

If you'd like to delete Instagram, go here for more information. If you'd like to delete WhatsApp, go here.

Welcome to your new, Facebook-free life. How does it feel?

Writing by Maggie Tillman and Elyse Betters.