(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. You've probably developed a love-hate relationship with it, but after this latest Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which your Facebook data may have been obtained without your consent and used to influence your opinions and maybe even vote for the 2016 Brexit referendum or 2016 US Presidential election, you're finally ready to say goodbye.

It's like a toxic relationship at this point. But just because you want to part ways doesn't mean you 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 this entire time. It'd be an absolute 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.

Screenshot: Pocket-lint

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 of 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, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, is incredibly creepy and eye opening. But that's why you're dong 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. Go to your Settings menu on Facebook.
  2. Go to the General section.
  3. Click "Download a copy of your Facebook data" at the bottom.
  4. Click “Start My Archive.”

You can learn more about this feature from here.

Screenshot: Pocket-lint

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. Oddly, Facebook doesn’t have the delete account option in its settings. Anyway, 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 it 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.

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


What about Facebook's other apps?

If you really 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.

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

Writing by Elyse Betters.