How to Delete Old Accounts Containing Personal Information

Tips & Advice

Your digital footprint grows with every internet account you make. While your old Tumblr account may be fun for reminiscing, dormant accounts are actually one of the most significant sources of user data on the internet. These accounts can be used by data brokers or third parties to access your personal information.  

To improve your data security, it’s good practice to remove public-facing information by deleting unused accounts. Simply put, having less personal data stored on the internet reduces the risk of theft and/or non-consensual data usage.  

Deleting, canceling, unsubscribing, or removing your account can be a long process, depending on the service. This article will walk you through the simplest ways to delete unwanted accounts from various social media platforms.  

Why you should delete old accounts

Deleting unwanted accounts protects your information and prevents the monetization of your data. Your internet accounts often hold personal information like your name, age, email, or home address. What’s more alarming is that some platforms may even have credit card details, phone numbers, and bank account information. 

When left unattended, internet accounts become vulnerable to being suspended or taken over by the platform. This means that if your accounts are left inactive for too long, you might be handing some or all of your data over to the tech platform.  

For example, even if you believe an old Google account doesn’t have any sensitive information stored, it may be linked to other platforms you use (like Amazon or Google services like Gmail and Google Play). This exposes all of these accounts to several data privacy vulnerabilities.  

Moreover, a recent survey found that 70% of surveyed adults admitted using the same password for more than one service. People who don’t use password managers or reuse passwords are at a greater security risk than others, as multiple accounts can become compromised at once. Whether the platform is now out of service or you are cutting down on your app usage, deleting dormant accounts will minimize security threats and safeguard your data.  

How to permanently delete old accounts, by platform

Every platform has a different process for deleting accounts: Some take only a few clicks to complete and others are a little longer. Companies usually don’t want a user to stop using their services, so account deletion pages are often hidden in a complex web of tabs that you have to navigate.  

In addition, some subscription services might require that you send an email to customer support to close your account. You can go to justdelete.me, an online directory that lets you access direct links to account deletion pages of various web services. 

Remember to download your personal information and data before pulling the plug on your account. Most platforms let you download your data before initiating a deletion request, which saves you from losing important details and files. It is also important to check whether your Google account is used for your YouTube channel or connected to other online accounts. 

To help you get rid of accounts you no longer use, we’ve broken down deleting accounts from some of the most popular social networks. The steps described below are for a desktop browser and may not apply to Android or iOS devices (unless specified).  

How to delete Facebook accounts

Facebook’s user privacy policy enables it to store a large amount of user information, including personal messages, posts, search history, name, age, birthdate, and even metadata from posted photos and videos.  

Follow these simple steps to delete your Facebook account 

  • After logging in from your desktop, click the arrow in the top-right corner  
  • Go to Settings 
  • Click on “Your Facebook Information” tab 
  • Click on “Deactivation and Deletion” 
  • Choose “Delete Account” from menu 
  • Enter password to confirm 
  • Click “Delete Account 

How to delete LinkedIn accounts

LinkedIn collects information on users and uses it for targeted advertising. As a result, it amasses quite a lot of your data, from professional details to personal preferences and even your online behavior trail.  

Follow these simple steps from your desktop to delete your account:  

  • Click on your profile avatar in the top-right corner 
  • Click on “Account Preferences” 
  • Scroll to Account Management and click on “Close Account” 
  • Select a reason for deleting your account 
  • Type password to confirm 

How to delete Twitter accounts

It’s simple to delete your Twitter account, but you’ll have to wait 30 days for your data and tweets to clear. To delete your account, you first need to deactivate it.  

Once you’ve decided to delete your account from the micro-blogging site, follow these steps from your desktop:  

  • From the navigation menu on the left, click on “Settings and Privacy” 
  • Go to “Your Account” tab 
  • Click on “Deactivate your account”  
  • If you don’t choose to reactivate within 30 days, your account will automatically be deleted  

Remember to revoke third-party access to your Twitter account to avoid having your account reactivated in the 30 days following deactivation. 

How to delete Instagram accounts

Since Facebook and Instagram are both owned by Meta, they share a lot of data for targeted advertising. You can adjust the privacy settings of your Instagram account from the mobile app, but you will need to log in from a web browser like Chrome to delete your account.  

To delete your Instagram account 

  • Go to the “Delete your account” page 
  • Choose a reason you’re deleting your account  
  • Enter your password 
  • Click on “Permanently delete your account”  

Your information and data will be permanently deleted after 30 days and you won’t be able to retrieve it. However, completing a deletion process may take up to 90 days.  

How to delete Tumblr accounts

Tumblr has a fairly simple process to delete your account:  

  • Log in to Tumblr from your desktop 
  • Click on the profile icon in the top-right corner  
  • Choose “Settings” 
  • Click on “Delete account”  
  • Enter your email address and password to confirm  
  • Delete account 

How to delete Pinterest accounts

Follow these steps to delete your account from the popular picture-sharing platform:  

  • Select the drop-down menu in the right corner  
  • Click on “Account Management” from the navigation menu  
  • Select “Delete Account 
  • Confirm when asked to receive an email with the final step  
  • In the confirmation email, click on “Yes, close account”  

Pinterest servers continue to store your data after deletion, but your information won’t be visible to other users.  

How to delete email accounts

There are different steps to deleting your email account depending on which email service you use. Backing up email data usually takes more time because of the sheer volume of data a mail account can hold.  

How to delete a Gmail account

Complete the following steps to delete your Google account 

  • Open this URL in your web browser: myaccount.google.com 
  • Select “Data and Privacy” from the menu on the left  
  • Scroll to “Download or delete your data”  
  • Click on “Delete a Google Service”  
  • Click “Delete a service”  
  • Enter your password  
  • Click the trash bin icon next to Gmail  

How to delete a Yahoo account

Here’s what you need to do to delete your Yahoo email account: 

  • Open this URL in your web browser: edit.yahoo.com/config/delete_user  
  • Login with your login credentials  
  • Click on “Continue to delete my account” on the confirmation page  

Deleting your Yahoo account also deletes the linked information from Yahoo’s other services.  

How to delete an Outlook email account

Follow these steps to delete your Microsoft account on Outlook 2010, 2013, or 2016:  

  • Open Outlook on your desktop and select “File” from the upper-left corner  
  • Click on “Account Settings” and choose “Settings” again 
  • Select the account you want to remove and click “Remove” 
  • Confirm by clicking “Yes” 

Keep your identity secure online with McAfee

Leaving old information scattered across the internet makes you susceptible to identity theft. There are multiple ways to keep your identity and data secure online, including McAfee’s Total Protection plan.  

Total Protection lets you choose from multiple affordable subscription models that provide comprehensive security against identity theft and potential data breaches and offers web protection and several related benefits. In addition, having access to 24/7 online security experts and a 30-day money-back guarantee make the Total Protection plan an easy, reliable, and safe choice. You can also have peace of mind with McAfee’s Personal Data Cleanup feature where our teams will work to find your personal information online and assist in removing it.  

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