GDPR: How to Download Your Data & Close Your Accounts

Don’t agree with your favourite apps' new Terms of Service? Here’s how to download all your data and close your account in this handy guide.

 

Under the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation, from the 25th of May 2018 organisations will have to comply with a new set of rules when it comes to accessing, storing and using your personal data online, and may be fined heavily if they’re found not to be complying with these rules.

You might recently have had quite a few emails and notifications from apps like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram or companies like Yahoo and FitBit, recently asking you to agree to new Terms & Conditions. A lot of organisations are asking that if you continue to use their service from May 25th when GDPR is enforced, you are automatically agreeing to their terms. And the terms affect you and your personal data – what they collect on you and what they share with third parties.

Find out what some organisations' Terms of Service include.

How to Download Your Data & Close Your Account

So, say you don’t agree with the new Terms of Service and want to close your account? Or maybe you fancy a trip down memory lane or just want to see exactly what data your fave social media sites have collected from you? Here’s a complete guide on just how to do so.

Twitter

Downloading Your Data

You’ve been able to download an entire history of every tweet you’ve ever sent from Twitter for a while now from a desktop and it’s totally simple – especially handy if you fancy looking at your first tweets for a laugh.

Equally, people change and grow up, and maybe regret things they’ve previously said online at a different time. It’s a particularly good thing to do to look at the language and terms we used in the past and remove them from being associated with the person we are today!

  1. Go to Settings & Privacy
  2. Go to ‘Your Twitter Data’
  3. Enter your password and confirm

From here you can see some of the data that Twitter knows about you based on information you have given or based on your activity, including information about locations you’ve tweeted from and organisations you’re likely to see adverts by.

  1. Request data

By clicking the request option at the bottom of the page, depending on how much you’ve tweeted, it will take a few moments for Twitter to then send you and excel spreadsheet to the email you use containing all the tweets you’ve ever made – including ones that have been deleted!

Closing Your Account

If you’d prefer to start afresh or simply don’t want to close your account.

  1. Go to Settings & Privacy > Account
  2. Select ‘Deactivate Your Account’

Here you’ll see the terms & conditions of deactivation. You’re told your Twitter account will no longer be viewable and for up to 30 days after deactivation, it is still possible to restore your Twitter account if it was accidentally or wrongfully deactivated but Twitter does not control content that can be found through a search engine such as Google.

  1. Select ‘Deactivate @YourUsername’

Once deactivated, if you wait out the 30 days, your former username and other data such as your phone number and email address can be used to create a new account.

Instagram

Downloading Your Data

Instagram has a copy of every picture you’ve posted to your profile and stories, even if you’ve deleted them after – and you can access them again now through Instagram directly from your device.

  1. Go to your Instagram settings
  2. Go to ‘Data Download’
  3. Check the email connected to your account is correct and click ‘Request Download’

Within the next 48 hours you’ll be sent a zipped file (or a couple depending on how frequent a ‘grammer you are!) which will include all your posts, stories and even versions of your name and bio on your profile.

Disabling Your Account

On Instagram you can temporarily close your account on a desktop or laptop.

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Select the Edit Profile section
  3. Click on ‘Temporarily disable my account’

Disabling your account means it will be hidden until you reactivate it by logging back in. It’s handy if you fancy a break from the social media platform but still want to keep your profile and posts as they are.

There’s no time limit to disabling your account but you can only do this once per week.

Permanently Deleting

Deleting your Instagram account can be a little trickier to find.

  1. You will have to login and visit the ‘Delete your Account’ page on a desktop or laptop.
  2. You’ll be asked to select from a list of reasons why you may want to permanently remove your account
  3. Depending on your answer you may be prompted to look at help articles that may be useful to you or you’ll be asked to enter your password and then select the ‘Permanently delete my account’ option.

After you delete your account, you can't sign up again with the same username or add that username to another account, and you won’t be able to reactivate your deleted account.

You will no longer be able to access your data or photos, so it might be worthwhile collecting it before removing your account as mentioned above.

Facebook

When it comes to Facebook, there are now many ways you can view and manage the data that the social media giant knows about you.

Through the following steps we show you how you can control who has access to your information, who can use it and how to download your data and view it for yourself as well as how you can delete or temporarily deactivate your Facebook profile.

  1. On a device (or on desktop) select ‘Settings’ in the Settings & Privacy section
  2. Scroll down to ‘Your Facebook Information’

Access your information

You’ll see a few options, the first being ‘Access your Information’ where you can view all of your Facebook activity including your posts, comments, friends and following lists, messages, events and places you’ve visited. You can manually choose to delete any of this information.

Download your information

Like Instagram and Twitter, you can now download all of the data you have ever shared on Facebook, including information like what Facebook thinks are relevant ads for you, your location history and the versions of your ‘About Me’.

Managing your information

Through this option you can make an official ‘objection’ to Facebook or Instagram, which may include if you find someone impersonating you and using your information, if you are being targeted or bullied on either platform, or if you want to report an image or video which violates your privacy.

Deactivating or deleting your Facebook account & data

Last of all, if you want to get rid of your Facebook account entirely, including all your information, photos and updates, you can do so. Bear in mind, you won’t be able to retrieve any of the data once you’ve submitted your request, if you’re just looking for a break for a while, you may want to look at deactivating your account temporarily instead.

You can only deactivate an account on a Desktop or laptop, by going to Settings > General and then selecting ‘Edit’ next to Manage Account. From there you can disable your profile. Some of your info may still be visible to other users, like your name in their Friends list or messages that you've sent. You can later reactivate your account simply by logging in again.

Find out more about what GDPR actually is and what can happen if organisations don't meet the new regulations.