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Breaking up (with Facebook) is hard to do. Here is how

connectVideoFacebook the tipping point?

Why 2018 could be seen as a canary in the coal mine for Facebook.

Every relationship has a breaking point. Even yours with Facebook.

There is a way out, though the social network will try to win with promises to do better. Maybe even flowers.

For some users, though, the last two years of privacy scandals, election manipulation by the Russian trolls, executive apologies and even the political disagreements with friends and family too much. The latest: an alarming New York Times report on the huge wealth of data that the company has dealt with companies such as Apple, Netflix and Amazon.

A growing number of people say they are deleting Facebook, or at least to consider.

While Facebook has tried a number of these problems, it is not enough for some users. Difficult as it may seem to stop, especially for those intertwined with it for years, it can be done.

Most of the time.

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Farewell for ever

Before you delete your account, the salvation of your messages and photos. Facebook allows you to download the data that you have shared with Facebook since you joined. This includes your messages and photos, as well as the “activity log” — the history of everything you’ve done on Facebook, such as likes and comments on posts, the use of apps and searches. The download also contains your profile, messages, list of friends and ads you have clicked.

This process gives a good, perhaps scary idea of what Facebook has on you.

What you won’t get are pictures of other people shared with you, even if you’re tagged in. You need to save that individual. Some things will remain, including what others have posted about you, your conversations with others and your posts in Facebook groups (though your name will be grayed out). Remove all of this, you need to sift through your “activity log” accessible via your profile page and delete each item individually.

Once you’ve saved everything and gone through your activity log, sign-in, for the last time. Go to http://bit.ly/198wIoI and click on the blue button. Facebook says that the process can take a few days. Your delete request will be cancelled if you are in this period. Facebook says that it can take up to 90 days for all data associated with your account will be erased, but you can’t change your mind after the first few days.

If you have your Facebook account of a third party, apps and sites that you need new user names and passwords for each.

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Trial separation

If you are not quite ready for a divorce, deactivating your account is an option. To do this, go to the settings of your account.

Deactivate means other people cannot see your profile, but if you log back in, the whole thing is cancelled and you are “active” again. Ditto if you are in an external app or site using your Facebook account.

Fomo (fear miss)

Depending on whether you are a full-time Facebook addict or an occasional lurker, the psychological separation could turn out to be harder or easier than the physical. Facebook has become a one-stop-shop for so many things. You can keep up with friends and family, find information about or local events, buy and sell stuff, keep up with the news, to raise money for a charity or join groups of like-minded people, such as parents, porch gardeners and people living with a rare disease.

There are other places to do many of these things. There is Eventbrite for events, Letgo for the buying and selling of stuff, Peanuts for moms to connect, Meetup to find and meet like-minded people, GoFundMe to raise money, and Twitter or your local newspaper, the website for the news. The difference is that there is no other place to do all these things, and your friends may not be there.

If you notice that your thoughts wander back to Facebook as you go through your day thinking how you would craft a message about an idea you just had, or an article that you came, it is OK. Let it go. It’s all part of the breakup process.

While you may not see updates on almost-forgotten classmates or a random person you met six years ago, the people who matter most will stay. For them, there is the e-mail, the phone and meeting in person for coffee.

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About those other apps

If your boycott of Facebook has more to do with the view of the company than with getting tired of the Facebook service, you may want to consider the removal of Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger — they are all owned by Facebook. Deleting your Facebook account is not of influence on your Instagram or WhatsApp account. If you want to continue to use Messenger, you can create an account with your phone number instead of your Facebook profile.

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