Facebook doesn't make it particularly swift or straightforward to delete your account, and it lays on the sob stories pretty heavily about how much your friends will miss you.
On the plus side, it does now promise to fully delete account data (after a waiting period) after a lot of criticism over its previous policy of deactivating accounts without removing content.
The company now has three options for suspending accounts – deactivating, deleting or memorialising.
Deactivate your Facebook account
Facebook touts this as the best option for people who want a temporary break from the service, and the company says it means you can come back to the account if you change you mind.
The option means your timeline disappears from the Facebook service immediately and people will not be able to search for you, although messages sent to others and some other information could still be available.
Facebook retains your Timeline information (including personal details and photos) and all will look like you've never been away if you go back to the network.
To deactivate, head to Account settings, then Security, then click on the Deactivate your account link at the bottom of the page.
Delete your Facebook account
This is permanent and means all data will be rendered unavailable.
To delete your account, which means data will actually be deleted rather than put into storage, head to http://www.facebook.com/account/delete/ to opt out of the network. The company stresses this is a permanent option with no comeback.
However, deleting your account doesn't mean that Facebook immediately removes all your information from its own servers.
'When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer,' the company says. 'However, you understand that removed content may persist in back-up copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).'
Memorialise a Facebook account
Facebook's final option is for when an account holder has died and friends or family want to memorialise the account. This will allow the original account holder's friends to continue to see the account.
Rather than deleting the account, this option leaves the account open, but means people can no longer sign into it and no new friends are accepted.
Depending on settings, people can still post on the Timeline to share memories. Facebook requires anyone memorialising an account to fill in a form, and provide proof of death.