Facebook has a brand-new tool for deleting old posts, but it’s not very good. Not only is it unavailable on Facebook’s desktop site—because rollouts—but even if it was, there are much better tools you can use right now to delete your old Facebook posts without deleting Facebook itself.
A word on that before we begin: I don’t agree with Facebook’s stances about allowing content from important people that would otherwise get a layperson kicked off the service, but I still use Facebook to keep in touch with my friends and local communities. I don’t judge anyone who wants to leave the service, but I’m also not going to put off helping those who are sticking around.
How Facebook’s “Manage Activity” works
Pull up your profile, tap on the three dots next to the blue “Add Story” box, and tap on Activity Log. From there, tap on “Manage Activity,” and tap on the “Your Posts” option that pops up. You’ll now be taken to this screen, where you’ll be able to tap individual posts that you want to archive or trash:
When you archive content on Facebook, only you’ll know it’s there going forward—you and Facebook, that is. Your friends won’t be able to see it. The trash option should be obvious, but there’s one little catch there, too; anything you trash gets dumped into a digital recycling bin that starts a 30-day countdown for your posts. Once that time is up, the post is gone forever. Should you have a change of heart, simply go into the trash and undelete your post while you can.
Since there’s no “select all” option on this tool, be prepared for a lot of tapping if you’re planning to sanitise your account. I bet you’ll give up before you clear out your posts, so you might as well not even bother now. There are better solutions.
Facebook’s website gives you a better tool for deleting old posts
If you’re on the desktop version of Facebook, I’m a fan of its “Manage Posts” tool, which you’ll find to the right of your “Posts” section on your profile:
Click it, and you’ll get a similar window to your Facebook app that allows you to filter posts by dates, select a big group of them (or all of them), and delete them. The latter option will only appear once you click the “Next” button if you’ve filtered to posts that only you’ve made. If you accidentally pull in someone else’s post, the option will be grayed out.
You won’t be able to archive old posts using this technique, so it’s delete or nothing. Still, if you didn’t want everyone else to see it, do you honestly think you’ll care that much about something you posted 10 years ago?
If you really want to delete years and years of posts
It’s possible you might need a bit more firepower than either of these tools provide. Given how much you’ve probably posted to Facebook, and how much you might want to delete, manually clicking or tapping through posts is a great way to waste an afternoon—or year.
Instead, try a Chrome extension like Social Book Post Manager. It’ll take some time to work its automated magic and delete your old posts, but it’s a lot better than trying to delete a ton of old content manually.
Otherwise, you could always go for the nuclear option: Delete your account and sign up for the service again. If so, make sure you download all your data first and make a list of any friends or groups you want to reconnect with when you’re back, so you don’t miss anyone.