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Looking to delete Facebook? Here's what you should know

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A Facebook employee walks past a sign at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.
Jeff Chiu | AP 2013

Frustrated with Facebook? Looking for a change?

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a new hashtag on competing social media site Twitter has gained traction with people who are frustrated with the social media giant Facebook.

Even before the Cambridge Analytica scandal, users were starting to feel irked by the site. According to Pew Research Center surveys from 2014, parts of Facebook people generally disliked include when people share too much information about themselves (36 percent of survey responses), or others posting about you and sharing photos of you without your permission (36 percent).

Maybe you want to make a political statement, or you're ready to spend more of your free time doing something else. Whatever the case, deleting your Facebook account takes a few simple steps.

But if you just delete the app, your account will still be available for people to access.

First, you might want to consider downloading your information in case there are photos you want to keep or other data you'd like to have in an archive.

If you're not sure you're ready to delete, you can deactivate your account. This is a temporary option, where people can't see your profile, but the information is still there. The next time you log in, your profile will reappear.

If you're ready for the clean break, head to the Facebook delete account page. It may take up to 90 days from starting the process to delete all the things you posted online. While it's being deleted, Facebook's help center site says the data is inaccessible to other people using Facebook.

Keep in mind there are a number of websites that use Facebook as a way to log in. If you used your Facebook account to sign in to those websites or apps, it will likely break your access to those sites as well.

And if you deactivated your account, using your Facebook profile to log in to a website will activate your account again.

Deleting your account will also not remove photos of you that other people have uploaded, so there's a chance you'll still be on the network, even if you don't have a profile.

Alternative social media

You might also want to check out some alternative social media platforms, although apps like SnapChat, Reddit, and Twitter aren't likely to provide the same user experience as Facebook.

Facebook also owns other popular social media platforms including Instagram and WhatsApp. So staying on either platform means that Facebook still owns some aspect of data you share.

There are some other options. Like Path, a photo sharing mobile device platform similar to Instagram. Or if you use WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, Signal is an encrypted web-based messenger that you can use both on a computer or a smartphone.

But the largest challenge of adopting a new social media account is whether the people you want to connect to are using the service too. And for context, Facebook has nearly 2.2 billion monthly active users worldwide. 

Thinking of leaving Facebook? Tell us about it

Share your thoughts here if you're mulling a break with Facebook of if you've already done it. 

You can also tell us what you think on our Facebook post, and we'll include your comments in the discussion below.