Social Media Purge: How to Delete Your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat Accounts

teens on cell phones
A group of teens look at a photograph they took on a smartphone in New York City's Times Square on December 1, 2017. Deleting social media sometimes can have a positive impact on users. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Taking a break from social media can be hard, but sometimes a break can be well worth it. Social media has been proven to contribute to ADHD and even depression and obesity in some users.

But simply deleting the app from a device doesn't always do the trick. It's easy to accidentally open a favorite platform on a desktop computer out of habit, or to quickly redownload the app. But deleting the account completely can keep users off the apps entirely.

Fully deleting a social media account can be more difficult than it may seem, but also can pay off in the long run.

Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter are the most popular social media platforms. Each has a different set of steps users have to go through to delete their accounts. In some cases, deleting an account can make it impossible to recover.

Here's how to fully delete your social media accounts:

Snapchat: Snapchat users need access to a web browser to delete their account; there's no way to currently delete their account from inside the app. Even once users do delete their account, it remains deactivated for 30 days before it's fully deleted from the app. Users can use the accounts portal here to delete their account; once in the portal, there are directions for deleting the account.

Instagram: Once an Instagram account is deleted, there is no going back. The photos, followers, messages and other data attached to the account will be deleted, and users will not be able to sign up again using the same username as the deleted account.

As with Snapchat, an Instagram account can't be deleted in the app, only online from a web browser. Users have to go to the Delete Your Account page online and log in with their username and password. Users then need to choose a reason for deleting the account from the drop-down menu provided and enter their password a second time. Until they choose a reason for deleting, they can't fully delete. Once users choose "Permanently delete my account," the account will be lost.

Facebook: Deleting a Facebook account can take weeks or months. Users must request to delete their account, and the process begins 14 days after their request. After those 14 days, the account is in a "deactivated state," according to Facebook. From there, users can choose to delete the account, a process that can take 90 days to fully complete for all the data on the site to be taken off of the platform. Users can select "Settings" and then "Your Facebook Information" on the platform to then choose the option to delete their information and their account, or to deactivate it temporarily.

Twitter: On Twitter, the process of deleting an account is referred to as "deactivating" and can take up to 30 days. Users must choose "Settings and privacy" from the drop-down menu that appears after clicking their profile icon. Under the "Account" section, there's an option to "Deactivate your account." After that, users must choose the account they want to delete and enter their password to complete the deactivation. After users complete this process, they have 30 days to reactivate their account before it is permanently deleted from the platform.