If the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica data breach has worried you, or if you feel like you spend too much time checking the latest status updates on Facebook but regularly use its Messenger app to keep in contact with friends and family, there is a way to wean yourself off one while remaining active on the other.
Instead of deleting your Facebook account altogether, you can deactivate your account so you can temporarily remove yourself from the site. You won’t appear in search results and your Timeline will disappear, but your information isn’t deleted so you can log back in at any point to resume using it.
Deactivating your account doesn't mean waving goodbye to Messenger, the instant messaging platform that lets you share text messages and make video calls with friends and family individually or in groups.
Here’s how to keep Messenger up and running while giving yourself a well-earned break from Facebook.
Step 1: Download your Facebook data
Start by downloading a copy of your Facebook data. You don’t need to do this, but in the event you decide not to reactivate, you’ve got a permanent copy of all your posts and photos.
Launch Facebook on your PC browser, click the drop-down arrow at the top right and select Settings.
Under General, click ‘Download a copy of your Facebook data.’
Follow the instructions and Facebook will send you an email with a link allowing you to download a copy of your personal archive.
Step 2: Deactivate your Facebook account
Remaining within the General menu, click Manage account. Look for ‘Deactivate your account’ at the bottom and click Deactivate your account.
You may have to enter your password again for security at this point.
To try and make you stay Facebook will offer a solution to each reason. When you are happy click ‘Deactivate’.
To check you've been deactivated properly, ask a friend to search their account for you. If you aren't there or you come up without a cover photo and when they click through and you see the message 'Sorry this content isn't available' you've been successfully deactivated.
3: Using Messenger
Launch Messenger on your phone and you’ll be able to keep using it as normal
This means you can keep using Messenger to chat to your Facebook friends, but you don’t have to use Facebook.