I have a love hate relationship with Facebook. I have genuinely loved the idea, but despise the lack of true privacy. I understand that digital life is more or less permanent. It shouldn’t be. We should be able to permanently delete things we have posted and shared online just as we can discard a real photo album. Regrets should be a part of life. It is a way we can learn what is important and a way to learn to be patient with events happening. But sometimes there are things we would like to forget. The Internet won’t allow that. But I digress.
Read on to learn how to delete your Facebook history.
Deleting posts from Facebook is something I actually find therapeutic. I am fortunate to have the “This Day” app that Facebook gave *some* users. I am not sure why everyone does not have it. But it allows me to see what I shared “on this day” for previous years. I am able to click on it and see all posts that happened on that “date”.
If you have it, it shows on the left menu below your news feed. Click on it to see what happened “on this day”.
If you do not have “On This Day” where you can remove items daily, maybe Facebook will show you “Memories” in your news feed and you can do the same thing when you click to “view more”. (I will update this with a “Memories” image when I have another).
There is hope if you do not have “On This Day”, or Memories that show in your feed. And if you want to look beyond today and see everything you have ever posted, even what you have posted or shared on your friend’s timelines. You can even see everything you have “reacted” to. Here’s a brief tutorial.
First log in to your account. If you need help with that, then I cannot help you here! Maybe another tutorial someday.
On that menu that opens, you will see many options. If you manage pages, there are shortcuts to the ones you visit most. You can also create pages, groups, fundraisers and even ads. You will also see this option to view your “Activity Log”. The activity log is a log of all the actions you have taken on Facebook. It logs the the people you friend, unfriend, or block. It logs the pages you like, the posts you react to (like, love, etc), the posts you make and the things you share on your profile. It’s all chronologically listed. Go ahead and click on that button to see your whole Facebook History.
Now the page loads the activity for that full year. It is listed newest first. For example, December 31 would show first and you will have to scroll through to find January 1. To the right of each post are icons that represent the audience that can see the post: friends, friends of friends, a list you created or public. A lock represents that it is not visible to anyone but you. You can change these on each post at anytime. If the icon to the far right is a circle, that means it is visible on your timeline. If it is a circle with a slash, it is hidden from your timeline. That means it is still visible to the audience but not on your timeline. For example if you made a post and tagged a friend. You can hide it on your timeline, but your friend will still see it in their own news feed because they have been tagged. Here is where you have the option to delete it from Facebook completely (theoretically… more on why I say that a little later).
Facebook will ask if you are sure you want to delete it.
This is also a good place to verify that YOU are posting directly from Facebook, or whether you have posted from a third party app like Twitter. Maybe you have granted an app permission to post for you, so posts start showing up when you take specific actions online, such as commenting on other websites. Review that here.
Any icon other than the Facebook logo is an app that was granted permission to post on your behalf. I will show you in another post how to review apps you have granted permission to access to your Facebook.
It is important to review these because in this example, I have posted from an app called Ping.fm. Ping.fm created “short urls” when it shared to multiple social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. That app no longer exists so the links no longer work. And last time I checked, someone is maliciously using the domain name. So I do not want any of those posts to remain on my timeline and have a friend click on one of those links.
If you previously used apps to post to Facebook, make sure they are still functional. There are many that have come and gone. It is a good idea to delete any posts with bad links, or apps that no longer work. Also, old apps that are no longer supported may get hijacked by someone with nefarious intentions.
Maybe you have a memory you want to save but do not want your friends to access. You can change the audience here by choosing the lock icon, or you can choose to hide from your timeline.
Earlier I mentioned that deleting from Facebook may only be theoretical. The reason is because Facebook has redundant servers. This is so the site never (or rarely) crashes. And so you never lose the photos you upload. So whatever you have posted may actually never be fully deleted from the Internet. It may even resurface on your timeline. It is a good habit to review regularly. Also, someone may have taken a screen shot and saved it, so it could live on in perpetuity somewhere without your knowledge.
A good rule of thumb is if you do not want what you post to live in perpetuity, then do not post it. It is impossible to know if what we think we are deleting, is actually being permanently deleted.
If you have found value in this post, please share it. This is something I do not mind living in perpetuity on the Internet.