What Happens to Messages When You Permanently Delete Facebook?

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Permanently deleting your Facebook account is a significant decision that comes with various implications. One common concern is what happens to your messages. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process, addressing what occurs to your messages and offering insights on managing your communication post-deletion.

Understanding Permanent Deletion

If you permanently delete your Facebook account, then you should know that all of your data, including every message you’ve ever sent or received, will be completely and permanently erased from Facebook’s servers. 

This means there will be no digital trace left of your messages on the platform. It’s a profound step, and once taken, there’s no turning back. That’s why it’s of utmost importance to take a moment to reflect and fully understand the implications of this irreversible action before you proceed. 

Your messages hold memories, connections, and conversations, and once deleted, they can’t be recovered. This understanding is crucial for making an informed choice that aligns with your preferences and needs.

Using Messenger Outside of Facebook

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Even if you decide to bid farewell to your active Facebook account, it doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your ability to communicate with your contacts. A nifty workaround is to use Facebook Messenger independently. Just download the Messenger app and log in using your phone number. This way, you can continue your conversations seamlessly, ensuring that your lines of communication remain open regardless of your Facebook account status. It’s a convenient way to stay connected without the need for a full-fledged Facebook account. This option puts you in control, allowing you to choose how you want to engage with your contacts moving forward.

Understanding the Difference Between Deactivating and Deleting Your Account

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Often, individuals find themselves at a crossroads, uncertain about whether to deactivate or delete their Facebook accounts. It’s important to note that these actions have distinct implications.

When you choose to deactivate your Facebook account, your messages remain intact but become temporarily inaccessible to others. Your timeline becomes invisible, and you won’t appear in search results. However, if you’ve exchanged messages with someone, they may still have access to those conversations. On the other hand, if you decide to permanently delete your account, the process is more definitive. While some data, like messaging history, may not be stored in your account, friends may still have access to messages sent after deletion. It’s important to be aware that copies of certain material may remain in Facebook’s database without personal identifiers. This highlights the distinction between deactivation and deletion, particularly regarding the accessibility of messages.

Furthermore, if you use your Facebook account for Oculus, deleting it results in the loss of Oculus-related data, including app purchases and achievements. Any existing store credits will also be forfeited.

Backing Up Your Messages

If you, like anyone else, value keeping a record of your conversations, here’s an optional step you might consider before deleting your Facebook account:

It’s a wise move to back up your messages. This can be done through Facebook’s data download feature, a tool designed to provide you with a downloadable archive of your conversations. This archive serves as a tangible record, preserving the memories, discussions, and connections you’ve built through your messages. It’s a thoughtful way to retain a piece of your digital history, ensuring that even if you choose to part ways with Facebook, you’ll still have access to the conversations that matter to you. Keep in mind that this step is entirely optional, and whether you choose to proceed with it or not is entirely up to you and your preferences.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to back up your Facebook messages using the data download feature:

  1. Log in to Your Facebook Account

Open a web browser and go to the Facebook website. Log in using your credentials.

  1. Access Your Settings

Click on the downward arrow located in the top-right corner of the Facebook homepage. From the dropdown menu, select “Settings & Privacy” and then choose “Settings.”

  1. Download Your Information

In the left-hand menu, find and click on “Your Facebook Information.” This will take you to a page where you can manage your information.

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  1. Request a Copy of Your Information

Look for the section labeled “Download Your Information.” Click on “View” to access the details.

  1. Select Data Categories

You’ll be presented with various categories of data you can download. To specifically back up your messages, click on “Deselect All” to uncheck all categories, then scroll down and check the box next to “Messages.” You can also select any other data categories you wish to include.

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  1. Customize Your Download

Click on “Create File.” You’ll have the option to choose the format of the download, the quality of the media, and the date range of the data. Ensure “Messages” is selected.

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  1. Create File

Click “Create File” again to initiate the process. Facebook will now compile your requested data.

  1. Download Your Archive

Once your data is ready, Facebook will send you a notification. Return to the “Download Your Information” page and click “Download.” This will fetch a zip file containing your messages and other selected data. 

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  1. Extract the Archive

Locate the downloaded zip file on your computer and extract its contents. Your messages will be available in a readable format.

Remember, this step is entirely optional, but it’s a great way to preserve your conversations before making any significant changes to your Facebook account.


Permanently deleting your Facebook account is a significant step, and understanding its impact on your messages is crucial. By considering alternative communication methods, backing up your messages if desired, and informing your contacts about your decision, you can navigate this process smoothly. Remember, your communication isn’t limited to Facebook, and there are various other platforms available to stay connected with your contacts.


Q: Can I retrieve my messages after permanently deleting my Facebook account?

A: Unfortunately, once your account is permanently deleted, it’s not possible to retrieve any messages associated with that account.

Q: Will my messages be visible to others if I deactivate my Facebook account?

A: While your account is deactivated, your messages won’t be visible to others. They remain temporarily inaccessible.

Q: Can I back up my messages before deleting my Facebook account?

A: Yes, Facebook provides a data download feature that allows you to create an archive of your conversations before deletion.