How to Deactivate Your Facebook Account: The Small Business Owner‘s Guide

As a small business owner, I rely on Facebook to market my products and connect with customers. But constant notifications and news feeds can get overwhelming. Sometimes a break is needed.

If you feel the same, deactivating your Facebook account lets you step away without losing all your data, pictures, and connections. It‘s the perfect compromise if you‘re not ready for permanent deletion.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll cover everything you need to know about deactivating your Facebook account, from easy step-by-step instructions to hidden data retention policies. You‘ll also get insider tips from an entrepreneur on how I manage both my personal and business use of Facebook.

Overview: Deactivation vs. Deletion

Before going further, let‘s clarify the difference between deactivating and permanently deleting a Facebook account:

Deactivation – Temporarily hides your profile and posts. Your data is retained on Facebook‘s servers. You can easily reactivate your account by logging back in.

Deletion – Permanently erases all account data from Facebook‘s servers. This can‘t be undone. Some data may still be retained in backups temporarily.

Here‘s a comparison:

Action Profile Visibility Content Accessibility Account Recovery
Deactivation Hidden Retained Easily reactivate anytime
Deletion Removed Erased Impossible to recover

So if you think you‘ll use Facebook again one day, deactivation does the job of letting you take a break now while saving all your info for later.

Why People Deactivate Facebook

According to [Pew Research study], 24% of US adults have taken long breaks from checking Facebook over the past year. Top reasons include:

  • Too much negativity or "fake news" in feeds (44%)
  • Wasting too much time checking app (36%)
  • Privacy concerns due to data scandals (27%)
  • Needed break from content that upsets or angers them (22%)

As a business owner aiming to limit distractions, I certainly relate to the productivity pitfalls of the Facebook app. And given their spotty track record of protecting user data, taking a timeout from the platform seems reasonable.

That said, Facebook remains my top channel for affordable marketing to a targeted audience. I can‘t delete it entirely without impacting my business. This makes deactivation an appealing temporary solution.

Step-By-Step Guide to Deactivate Your Account

Ready to give Facebook a timeout without losing your contacts, pictures, and other account details? Just follow these simple steps:

On Desktop

  1. Click the down arrow at top right and select Settings & Privacy
  2. Click Settings in left column
  3. Select Your Facebook Information
  4. Choose Deactivation and Deletion
  5. Click Deactivate Account
  6. Confirm by clicking Continue to Account Deactivation

That‘s it! Your profile is now hidden from other users until you log back in.

On Mobile

  1. Tap menu icon (three lines) at bottom right
  2. Scroll down and select Settings & Privacy
  3. Tap Settings
  4. Choose Account Ownership and Control
  5. Select Deactivation and Deletion
  6. Tap Deactivate Account
  7. Confirm deactivation

Once again, all account data like friends, photos, and posts will be waiting when you return to Facebook‘s app.

[screenshot of deactivation screens]

For visual learners, the screenshots above illustrate exactly what the deactivation screens look like on both desktop and mobile.

What Happens When Your Account is Deactivated

Behind the scenes, Facebook continues storing all your personal data on their servers even though your profile appears deactivated.

Some key things to know about what happens once deactivated:

  • Your name and profile picture may still appear in Facebook Messenger conversations or other users‘ friend lists during deactivation.
  • You can‘t post content or interact with Facebook, but your past posts and info remain stored by Facebook.
  • Apps connected to your Facebook login will no longer work until you reactivate the account.
  • It‘s easy to restore your account later by simply logging back into Facebook with your credentials.

So in essence, deactivation puts your account into hibernation – the shell remains in Facebook‘s system, ready to be revived when needed.

How to Permanently Delete Instead

What if you‘re done with Facebook for good? As mentioned earlier, permanent account deletion erases all your data from their servers:

  • On desktop, go to Settings > Your Facebook Information > Delete Account
  • On mobile, go to menu > Settings > Your Information > Delete Account

Note that Facebook may retain some data for up to 90 days after deletion due to technical constraints. But for all intents and purposes, permanent deletion closes the book on your Facebook account.

Before deleting for good, be sure to download a copy of your Facebook data for your records using the Facebook data export tool.

Pro Business Owner Tip

I recommend deactivating your Facebook account for personal use if you need a break from the noise. But maintain a separate professional page for your business which you check only periodically.

The brand exposure Facebook provides is unparalleled, but doesn‘t have to rule your life. Segment personal and professional use to strike the right balance.

Take Control Over Your Data

As scandals like Cambridge Analytica have revealed, Facebook historically suffers from questionable data practices. Who knows what they still store about inactive users out of sight.

That‘s why in addition to deactivating your account, be sure to:

  • Download a copy of your Facebook data for your records
  • Restrict ad targeting and opt out of data gathering for ads in settings
  • Carefully check all apps you‘ve given Facebook login access to

Take back control over your personal data wherever possible.

Key Takeaways

Deactivating your Facebook account provides the flexibility to step away now while preserving your decade of photos, connections, and memories should you decide to return.

To quickly deactivate your account:

  • Desktop – Settings & Privacy > Settings > Deactivate Account
  • Mobile App – Menu > Settings > Deactivate Account

Your profile will then disappear until you log back in again. It‘s that simple to temporarily deactivate Facebook without losing anything.

I hope this transparent look at deactivation from a business owner‘s perspective helps you make the right choice for your needs. Facebook‘s value is undeniable, but breaks can be healthy. You remain in control.