CLEAN SLATE

You’re not quitting Facebook if you still use Instagram and WhatsApp

Don’t stop here.
Don’t stop here.
Image: AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee
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So you’ve decided you’ve had enough with Facebook and its continuing antics, or all the times it’s been hacked this year, or perhaps you’re just sick of how much time you spend on it. You’ve finally made the plunge to delete it from your life. And after all, between apps like Instagram and WhatsApp, you’ve got all the social media you need.

Sadly, I am here to burst your bubble, if you weren’t already aware: Instagram and WhatsApp are both run by Facebook.

While they’re theoretically separate companies, this year alone has seen the founders of both companies leave Facebook, with WhatsApp’s Jan Koum departure reportedly in protest of how Facebook has played fast and loose with its users’ data. Facebook has pushed the apps closer to its main network over the years, allowing users to connect the apps to their Facebook account, and even sharing data between services. Facebook has also offered advertisers the ability to reach Instagram and Facebook users with the same campaign.

To truly cut Facebook out of your life, as best you can, you’ll have to leave all the services it owns. Here’s our guide for deleting Facebook but making sure you keep all the photos you’ve added to it over the years. And here’s how to remove yourself from Facebook’s other big apps:

How to delete Instagram

Before you nuke your account, you’ll probably want to save all the photos you’ve posted over the years. To do that:

  • Go to instagram.com on a computer
  • Go to your profile page, and click on the gear icon
  • Click on “Privacy and Security”
  • Scroll down to “Data Download” and click
  • Make sure your email address is correct and click “Next”
  • Re-enter your password and click “Request Download”

You should get your photos in about 48 hours. Once you’ve got them and saved them somewhere safe (I’d recommend an external hard drive), then head over to this webpage to delete your account. You have to tell Instagram why you’re choosing to delete your account, then re-enter your password again, and then you can delete away.

How to delete WhatsApp

This one is pretty simple:

  • Open the app
  • Tap the Settings icon
  • Tap Account and choose “Delete My Account”
  • Enter your phone number and tap “Delete My Account”

If you want to save anything you’ve sent or received on WhatsApp before you delete, there’s a “Request Account Info” button above the “Delete My Account” button.

But beware

As WhatsApp says on its website, there’s no guarantee that the company is actually going to remove your data from its servers. On top of that, Facebook is still a massive advertising platform, used by just about every major retailer, that can still track you online even when you’re not logged in. Make sure to clear your web browser’s cookies (and your phone’s), and if you want to go to the extreme, install an ad-blocker. Just make sure to white-list Quartz 😬.