En español | Whether you have decided to quit Facebook once and for all or you simply want to take down old posts you regret publishing, the world's largest social media site hasn't made it easy to properly remove content — until now.
Previously, Facebook was under fire for making its process convoluted if you wanted to take down a photo, comment or like. And those who wanted to delete their account altogether might unknowingly leave a digital footprint, such as a message sent to someone still active on the platform.
Thankfully, a new Facebook feature, called Manage Activity, simplifies the deletion of posted content, both in bulk and individually, all in one place.
This includes the option to privately archive your posts, to be kept for your eyes only and not completely removed from Facebook. So you could, say, save a post you wrote in 2008 that you still find funny — like a haircut gone wrong and your friends’ hilarious reactions to it — but that you don't want a potential employer to see.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform worldwide by far; YouTube is the second. In March, Facebook had an average of 1.73 billion daily users around the globe, according to the company. That's when much of the world began sheltering in place to avoid coronavirus infections.
As of May, nearly a quarter of Facebook's 232.7 million users in the United States were 55 and older, according to NapoleonCat, a social media management system based in suburban Warsaw, Poland. Another 15 percent were ages 45 to 54.
So if, like much of the world, you have a Facebook account, read on to learn how to use Manage Activity and delete or save posts that you no longer want to share.
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How to get started
At the time of this writing, Facebook said it is rolling out its Manage Activity feature to users of its mobile app. But those who access Facebook on a web browser will have it available “soon"; the company doesn't specify a date.
Until then, these step-by-step instructions are for those using a smartphone or tablet.
1. Open the Facebook app.
2. At the bottom of the screen, tap the blue tab that says Go to Activity Log.
If you don't see it, tap the three horizontal lines at the top right of the app. Select Settings & Privacy | Settings | Activity Log under Your Facebook Information.
3. At the top of the Activity Log screen you should see options for Filters, Archive and Trash.
4. Tap the Filters tab to view and manage your posts in bulk and filter them to help you sort and find what you're looking for. This way you can find posts with a certain date range, specific people or items such as photos or videos.
5. You'll see options pop up from the bottom of your screen, where you can tap Category, Date or Friends.
If you tap Category, a new menu will appear with options for all posts; text updates, check-ins, notes and more; photos and videos; and posts from other apps.
If you tap Photos and Videos, you will see the posts by date (newest on top), and you can select posts one by one by ticking the little box or selecting All.
6. Once you make a selection, choose to Archive or Delete.
• Archive This option is for Facebook content you no longer want others to see but that you want to keep for yourself.
• Delete Use this feature to move posts you no longer want into the trash. The trash will stay there for 30 days before being deleted unless you choose to manually delete or restore the posts before then.
If you want to review your decisions, tap the Archive or Delete tab, at the top of the screen. Tap one of the posts and you will have a couple of additional options, such as changing from Archive to Delete or vice versa; Restore the post to reverse your decision and to View the specific post.
To return to previous menu options, tap the arrow back button, at the top left of the screen.
Other privacy features to check into
A video walkthrough of some of these Manage Activity options is available here.
Facebook says its Manage Activity feature is its most recent offering to make it easier for account holders to manage their experience on its platform.
It builds upon other new tools: Off-Facebook Activity allows you to clear the information Facebook receives from apps and websites you visit outside of the platform. Privacy Checkup helps you control who can see your profile information, what you share and how others can use your information.
Marc Saltzman has been a freelance technology journalist for 25 years. His podcast, Tech It Out, aims to break down geek speak into street speak.