How To Deactivate Facebook Messenger

Thinking about deactivating your Facebook Messenger account? We’ll show you how.
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Facebook Messenger is a messaging app designed to send personal messages between family and friends. However, with data breaches and leaked personal information, many Facebook users may be looking for a more secure messaging platform to stay safe online.

Deactivating Facebook Messenger can be tricky, especially because deleting or deactivating your Facebook account doesn’t automatically delete your Facebook Messenger account.

Luckily, we’ve got you covered. We will explain how to deactivate your Facebook Messenger account, as well as how to increase your security by using one of the top VPNs.

In this article
How to deactivate Messenger
How to turn off Facebook Messenger
Why should you deactivate Facebook Messenger?
Facebook Messenger alternatives
How to keep your data private on Messenger and other social media apps
How to deactivate Facebook Messenger FAQs
Bottom line

How to deactivate Messenger

It’s hard to deactivate your Facebook Messenger account since it’s connected to your actual Facebook account.

Deleting your Facebook account doesn’t automatically deactivate your Messenger account. If your Facebook Messenger account is attached to your Facebook account, you’ll need to deactivate your Facebook account first.

Deactivating your Facebook Messenger account can be done in a few simple steps. The following steps work for both iOS and Android platforms.

  1. Open the Messenger app
  2. Tap the three horizontal lines at the top left, also known as a hamburger menu, and click the account settings gear icon
    Screenshot of FaceBook account settings
  3. Click on Accounts Center
    Screenshot of FaceBook accounts center
  4. Tap Personal Details
    Screenshot of FaceBook personal details
  5. Tap Account Ownership and Control
    Screenshot of FaceBook account ownership and control
  6. Click Deactivation or deletion to deactivate or delete your Facebook account
    Screenshot of FaceBook deactivating or deleting account
  7. Tap Continue to Facebook Account Deactivation and Deletion
  8. Tap Continue to Account Deactivation
  9. Enter your password, click to continue

How to turn off Facebook Messenger

If you want to get rid of Facebook Messenger but don’t want to deactivate your Facebook account, consider turning Messenger off. By turning off your Facebook Messenger account, you’ll stop receiving messages while maintaining your active account.

You can turn off notification alerts for all conversations or a single conversation. To turn off notifications for all conversations in the Facebook app, follow these steps:

  1. Click on your profile picture in the top left corner, then click Preferences
  2. Click Notifications
  3. Click the toggle below Do Not Disturb to turn notifications off

Why should you deactivate Facebook Messenger?

While staying connected with people is a good thing, Facebook’s data collection leaves us a little leery of the social media mogul. Here are a few reasons you might want to deactivate Facebook Messenger.

1. Meta’s data collection

Meta collects and stores personal data, including any content you create, like, comment on, or interact with, messages you send and receive, photos, audio, the time, length, and frequency you use Meta’s products, audio files, and more.

2. Potential data breaches

Facebook is no stranger to data breaches. In December 2022, Facebook owner Meta agreed to pay $725 million to settle legal action over a data breach linked to political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. For a company that collects and stores so much personal information, it’s reasonable that users might be worried about potential data breaches.

3. Data profiling and targeted ads

Data profiling reveals certain user information to serve the most pertinent targeted ads. For example, someone who loves plants and knitting receives ads about plants and knitting. Data profiling isn’t illegal, but it raises questions about privacy and security.

Facebook displays ads based on information they collect about you and your activity, such as pages you’ve liked or your interactions on Instagram. To further target your ad experience, Facebook may also use information about your followers and their activities. If you haven’t updated your Facebook privacy settings, Facebook may also use information from partners to target further.

4. Social media and misinformation

Ease of access, speed of information dissemination, and difficulty correcting false information make slowing the spread of misinformation especially challenging on social platforms.

Add to that the inherent nature of social platforms, namely that they are designed to quickly and easily share and spread information through reposting, retweeting, and sharing. Social media is designed specifically to share information, making sharing misinformation easy.

Facebook Messenger alternatives

A privacy-focused messaging app can keep your conversations private from other users, advertisers, and governments. Regarding secure messaging apps, privacy and security are the main focus.

  • Signal: Signal offers end-to-end encryption and open-source technology. It’s free, and since it’s a nonprofit, owned and sustained by users, there’s no worry about adhering to a big company’s policies.
  • Telegram: This popular free, cloud-based messaging app offers an easy-to-use interface, and voice, video, and live-streaming capabilities. Because it’s cloud-based software, you can access your messages, photos, videos, and audio messages on any connected device. It also supports more extensive group chat options. Be aware that Telegram’s messages aren’t end-to-end encrypted by default, though you can enable them through Secret Chats.
  • WhatsApp: WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption by default along with disappearing messages (messages that self-destruct after a specified amount of time) for added privacy and security. There’s a serious caveat to WhatsApp, though — Meta owns it, so users are subject to the same privacy policy and terms of service as Facebook and Instagram.

For more guidance, we compare Signal to WhatsApp and compare Telegram vs. WhatsApp to help you decide which is best for you.

How to keep your data private on Messenger and other social media apps

Using completely secure and private messaging apps and social platforms may not always be feasible. Fortunately, there are options to help keep your data confidential and avoid tracking while using Facebook Messenger and other social media apps.

Consider using a virtual private network (VPN), updating your social media settings, installing antivirus software, and using discretion about what you post online.

Use a virtual private network (VPN)

A VPN works by routing a device’s internet connection through a private service rather than the regular internet service provider. A VPN encrypts your traffic so that third parties have a more difficult time accessing your information or traffic.

Consider using one of these best VPN apps to boost your privacy and security on social media platforms.

Best VPNs for online privacy

  • NordVPN: NordVPN is perfect for users who want a high-speed VPN with many features, streaming libraries, and a focus on cybersecurity and privacy. Features we think are worth noting: over 5,000 server locations to help establish a connection, a no-logs policy, and a kill switch feature, which prevents unprotected access.

    Get NordVPN | Read Our NordVPN Review
  • Surfshark: Surfshark is a good option if you’re looking for a VPN with fast speeds, unlimited simultaneous connections, streaming services, and a no-logs policy, all at a lower monthly cost than other VPNs. The downside to Surfshark: while they boast a strict no-logs policy, Surfshark is located in the Netherlands, part of the Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes Alliances, which may deter some.

    Get Surfshark | Read Our Surfshark Review
  • ExpressVPN: ExpressVPN is a leading VPN provider because it provides fast, secure connections, streaming libraries, and a no-logs policy. ExpressVPN is also headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, with no data retention laws. ExpressVPN is on the pricier end of private networks. Still, it does tout unique features like Threat Manager, which prevents apps from sharing your personal information, and TrustedServer technology, which means all data is wiped with every reboot.

    Get ExpressVPN | Read Our ExpressVPN Review
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NordVPN
  • High-quality VPN offering safety and speed
  • Loads of servers for multiple connection options
  • Works with popular streaming services, including Netflix
  • Too many confusing plans

Update your social media privacy settings

When was the last time you looked at your social media privacy settings? Being aware of your privacy settings on any social media app is an important first step in maintaining your online privacy and security. Different platforms have different settings and defaults, so check your settings for each app individually.

Install antivirus software

Some social platforms have third-party games or programs you can install. Social networking websites usually don't review these, and games or programs may contain viruses or malware. To protect yourself, install antivirus software on your computer. Read our guide to determine the best antivirus program for your needs.

Be careful about what you post online

Hackers and fraudsters are looking to scam unsuspecting victims online. Social media is built on a foundation of sharing, and many users inadvertently overshare information or details about their lives. Never post personal information such as a birth date, home address, or identification number.

How to deactivate Facebook Messenger FAQs


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Why can’t I delete my Messenger account?

First, be sure that you’ve deactivated and deleted your entire Facebook account. And be sure you haven’t just uninstalled the Messenger app rather than deactivating Messenger.


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What happens if I deactivate Messenger?

If you deactivate your Facebook Messenger, you won’t be able to send or receive new messages, your profile won’t appear in searches, and you won’t be able to read any past messages. However, your contacts can still read past messages from you.


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What’s the difference between deactivating and deleting Facebook Messenger?

If you deactivate your Facebook Messenger account, you can reactivate it. If you delete your Facebook Messenger account, it’s permanent.


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Can you reactivate Facebook Messenger?

If you deactivate Facebook Messenger, you can reactivate it.

Bottom line

Staying connected to family and friends across the world has never been easier, but with the prevalence of digital messaging apps and sharing information across the internet, there are also risks involved. Fortunately, there are ways to stay safer online, increasing your digital privacy and security but also enabling you to navigate the internet safely.

One option to increase security is by using a VPN. Check out our list of the best VPNs to find a good starting point.

Limited-time offer: Up to 67% off
4.9
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On NordVPN's website
VPN
NordVPN
  • High-quality VPN offering safety and speed
  • Loads of servers for multiple connection options
  • Works with popular streaming services, including Netflix
  • Too many confusing plans

Author Details
Courtney Daybell is a professional writer interested in online privacy. With a bachelor's degree in communications from Brigham Young University, she has written for more than 15 years with a strong foundation in print journalism.