Fed up with Facebook’s antics? Here’s how to delete your WhatsApp account

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It’s no secret that Facebook-owned WhatsApp is a popular service, used by billions of people around the world. But Facebook’s recent mandatory shift towards sharing user data with the main Facebook service has seen users in South Africa turn away from the data-siphoning app and towards something that is less likely to wind up trying to psychologically profile you so it can sell you stuff. Like Telegram, or Signal.

But what do you do with your WhatsApp account? You could just keep it on your phone but it’ll continue sending data back to Facebook HQ — even if you’re not using it, people sending messages your way will provide Facebook with information about you. Or you could do the sensible thing and delete it outright. Here’s how you can do that.

Wave goodbye to WhatsApp

When Facebook trotted out its mandatory ‘accept or delete the app’ ultimatum last week, it also included a link to how to delete your account. Only, many of us may have skipped over that because we had a message to send. Cue blindly clicking accept and then feeling remorseful when you found out that Facebook was after even more data. Happily, deleting your WhatsApp account isn’t hard. But you’ll have to click ‘Yes, I’m sure’ a few more times than you’d expect to.

Delete your WhatsApp account

Step 1: Open WhatsApp (this is an important step)
Step 2: Click the ‘more’ section in the upper right corner (the three vertical dots)
Step 3: Select Settings, then Account, then Delete My Account
Step 4: Enter your phone number (even though Facebook definitely knows it’s you).
Step 5: Here’s where things get clingy — Select Delete My Account again
Step 6: Facebook will ask you for a reason why you’re giving them the boot. Choose one from the drop-down menu, or tell ’em exactly why you’re leaving in the optional text space.
Step 7: Select Delete My Account.
Step 8: And one more time (seriously, it’s over — let’s not make this harder that it has to be) … Select Delete My Account. Be completely sure before you hit this final one, because once you do, everything’s gone: Your messages, groups, images, your entire Google Drive backup of WhatsApp. There’s no coming back from this. If you do return, you’ve got to start from scratch.

That’s it. Install Telegram, Signal and maybe Zoom if you reckon you’ll miss video calls and let Facebook sit and think about its mass data collection policies for a while.

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