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April 4, 2017

Deleting Your Facebook History -- How To and Why You Should

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With Facebook using the data you provide through status updates and emotion updates (Like, Love, Funny, Hate, Cry) on posts, Facebook is able to build a profile around you to allow advertisers to more accurately target you. In addition to this, employers, hacker groups and regular people can often access this information to make judgements about the account owner or to use the information against them.

There are a few methods out there such as manually deleting items and running macros to delete posts, however these have various drawbacks. The manual method allows for the most control over which (if any) items you want to delete, but requires you to manually click through each item. This can be VERY time consuming if you have, like me, thousands of posts. The next option is a macro. This method give you no control over which items to keep and requires some manual intervention to initialize the macros when they reach the end of the programming. There is a third option, called "Facebook Post Manager" (although now listed as F____book Post Manager after Facebook stopped them from using the Facebook name). This is an addon for Chrome which allows for extensive control over which posts to delete and is a "set and forget" tool. For example, I deleted over 2,800 posts from 2013 in a manner of minutes.

The tool can be downloaded from: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/fbook-post-manager/ljfidlkcmdmmibngdfikhffffdmphjae and the page looks like this:

Deleting Your Facebook History -- How To and Why You Should 1

Once installed, you will see the below circled icon in Chrome, by default to the right of the address bar.

Deleting Your Facebook History -- How To and Why You Should 2

In order to use this tool, you must first browse to your Facebook "Activity Log." At no point do you need to enter your credentials into the deletion tool.  Your Activity Log will give you some basic filters, such as "Your Posts", "Likes" and "Comments" for you to choose from, as shown in the below image.

Deleting Your Facebook History -- How To and Why You Should 3

In the above image, I have it limited to "Your Posts" which will only focus the deletion on status updates I've made. You can have it focus on all your activity, which it is set to by default.

Once on the Activity Log screen and any desired filters are applied you next need to click the application's icon as previously shown. This will bring up the configuration screen as shown below:

Deleting Your Facebook History -- How To and Why You Should 4

This configuration screen allows you to further filter your actions. You can narrow things down to a specific year, even a specific month of the year. You can look for items containing keywords or not containing keywords. This will allow you either delete all references to a topic (such as a company you're applying to) or delete everything that does not reference a particular aspect of your profile. You also have the option to run what's called a "Prescan" which will allow you to see and approve each item that gets removed. You also have the option to hide or unhide activity rather than remove them. This will hide the activity from the public's view, but will not prevent Facebook from using it to assist in sending targetted ads. The speed setting is dependent on your connection to the internet and it's speed. Four times is the default speed, however I've been able to successfully run it at 16 times speed with no issues.

Once you configure the application and click the Delete (or other action) button you will need to leave Chrome running and in the foreground, which means you will not be able to use your computer unless you stop the application. The deletion action is unreversable, so make sure you have saved any pictures or posts that you don't want to lose forever. Once completed you will see a notice similar to the below image of a run I did deleting my 2013 posts.

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This screen is a little confusing because if you didn't do the Prescan, the items are already deleted. Clicking "Yes" here will take you to a donation page and cancel will take you back to your activity log which will now look like this:

Deleting Your Facebook History -- How To and Why You Should 6
I have so far successfully used this tool to remove over 6,000 posts from 2006 to 2013. The only quirk I have found is that if you have liked/followed a page that is no longer in existence, Facebook will not allow you to delete the like/follow. This is a limitation of Facebook, not the tool.

About the Author:

Deleting Your Facebook History -- How To and Why You Should 7

In addition to being a top producing Realtor, Ryan Huggins also holds a Master's Degree in Computer Science and has worked in the IT industry for 15 years, 10 of which in IT Security, for companies such as Harris Communications, California Lutheran University, Amgen, Hewlett Packard, 21st Century Auto Insurance, Guitar Center and Hospital Corporation of America.

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