How can I delete my Facebook account and start afresh with a new one?

Jean wants to delete her Facebook account, as does Alban, but he cant remember his email address or password. Suzette also wants to delete her Facebook account so she can start again with a new one

I deleted the Facebook app on my phone. However, friends can still see my page. I want everything permanently deleted. How can I do this? Jean

Facebook is a website, and all the data for your page is stored on various Facebook servers in giant data centres. It is not stored on your PC or on your phone: they are just ways to access it online.

To delete your Facebook page, you must log on to your account, then go to the Delete my account page at facebook.com/help/delete_account and click the big blue button.

The Facebook help page says: When you delete your account, people wont be able to see it on Facebook. It may take up to 90 days to delete all of the things youve posted, like your photos, status updates or other data stored in backup systems. While we are deleting this information, it is inaccessible to other people using Facebook. If you change your mind and log on later, you will be offered the chance to reactivate your account, but some or all of your data may have been deleted.

Before you delete your Facebook page, its a good idea to download a copy of your data. To do this, click the downward-facing triangle and select Settings from the drop-down menu. When the page loads, click the text that says Download a copy of your Facebook data. Facebook will email you when your data is ready to download.

Otherwise, consider deactivating your account rather than deleting it. The effect is exactly the same as far as your friends are concerned: you and your data disappear from Facebook. However, you can re-activate your account if you change your mind.

No email address, no password

I dont remember my email address and Facebook password. How can I close my account? Alban

You cant easily close an account unless you can log on to it. But how many email addresses do you have? Too many to try them all?

Go to the Find Your Account page at https://www.facebook.com/login/identify and try entering the email addresses and/or phone numbers you usually use, your user name or your full name and search for your account.

If you cant find it, get a Facebook friend or family member to help. Ask them to go to your Facebook page, click on About and look for your email address under Contact Information. If you didnt make your email address visible, ask them to send you the internet address (the URL) of your page. This will tell you your username, which you can enter in the Find Your Account page.

For example, if your user name was John Doe, then your Facebook page would probably be at https://www.facebook.com/John.Doe

There is a way to delete an account that you cant access, but you have to create a new Facebook account to do it. In this case, navigate to your old account and Report/Block it. Next, choose This is my old profile and then Close this account. Facebook says: the profile will be reviewed and deactivated after were able to verify that its your old account.

There is no way to merge two accounts.

People who are likely to forget their names, passwords and email addresses should add one or more trusted contacts. To do this, go to the Settings page, select Security (on the left) and then click on Trusted Contacts. This allows you to choose from three to five people unfortunately, three is the minimum. If you ever have a problem accessing your account, you can ask for a security code to be sent to a trusted friend. They pass the code to you so that you can use it to access your account.

Making a fresh start

I want to delete my Facebook account because there are lots of things on it. I want to start with a nice clean Facebook page. Suzette

Your Facebook account is tied to your email address and/or phone number, not your real name, because there may be hundreds or thousands of people with exactly the same name. You must therefore think carefully about which email address and/or phone number you want to use in future. Remember, you cannot use the same ones, because Facebook will reactivate your old account, instead of creating a new one.

Before you delete your account, get a back-up of your data, as described above. After that, go to your account settings and change the key entries to something you dont want. Its most important to change your email address to another working email address you can create one for the purpose. You can also change your real name, your user name, and possibly your password. (Changing your password will stop your smartphone and tablet apps from logging in.)

The settings for Account security may also contain a list of registered devices that are associated with your account. You may want to remove those as well.

Remember, when you create a new account, Facebook will do its best to reactivate your old account, based on whatever data was in the old account.

Note that when you delete your old account, you will lose all your friends, photos, messages, comments, favourites, games and other data. You will also lose access to user groups and so on. Make sure you keep a record of everything you want to get back.

Also, tell your important friends that you intend to delete your old Facebook account and create a new one. If you dont, they may think you are being impersonated by a scammer and report you. If they have already confirmed that you are a friend, they wont expect to get another friend request, unless you warn them.

If you do all this, then you should eventually be able to create a new account, with your preferred email address and user name. I wouldnt expect this to work until your old information has been flushed from Facebooks system. That could take about two weeks, but it might take a month or more.

You could, of course, create a new account and then Report/Block the old account, as described above. However, I prefer my method. First, its against Facebooks terms and conditions to create more than one personal account. Second, you would not be able to create a new account with your old user name and email address. Third, youd have to rely on Facebook to verify and deactivate the old account, instead of being able to do it yourself.

Have you got another question for Jack? Email it to [email protected]

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/askjack/2016/mar/17/how-can-i-delete-my-facebook-account-and-start-afresh-with-a-new-one