If you’ve started using Threads and found it wanting, you’re in for a rude awakening: As it stands, you can’t delete your Threads account without also deleting your Instagram account (although Meta is apparently “looking into it”). That is how closely entwined Meta’s new social media network really is with Instagram. Sure, you get the easy setup, built-in following, and a text-based feed that might not be as bad as Twitter. But it’s still a Meta company, with all the privacy-infringing policies and existensial conundrums that come with it.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t quit the app, and that you can’t delete all of your (public-facing) data. If you’re done with Threads but don’t want to say farewell to Instagram, here are a couple of things to try out.
Manually delete all your content
If you don’t want your stuff online for everyone to see, you’ll have to go in and manually delete everything you’ve previously shared, post-by-post, from the option in the three-dot menu in the corner. At least that way it won’t be available publicly, and won’t be linked anywhere either. While you’re at it, remove all the personal info in your bio, and make sure to remove all of your followers as well, by deleting them from your followers list.
Take your profile private
If you don’t want to do all that manual labour, but you still want to get rid of your public posts, the best option is to take your profile private. From there, you can remove all followers, or you can keep it to a list of just your close friends.
To do this, tap the Menu button from the profile and go to Privacy > Private Profile and tap the OK button.
Deactivate your profile to say goodbye for good (for now)
If you really don’t want to show up on Threads at all, you’ll have to deactivate your account. This doesn’t delete any of your data — it’ll still lurking on Meta’s servers, ready to be indexed. But at least it won’t be available publicly, and your profile will cease to show up in search results and you won’t be be taggable in conversations. You can recover your account anytime you wish, simply by logging back in. Then, one day, when Threads adds the option to actually delete your profile, you can come back to deal the fatal blow.
To deactivate, tap the Menu button from the profile, and go to Account > Deactivate Profile > Deactivate Threads profile.
If you are ready to nuke your Instagram profile too
If you just can’t deal with Meta anymore, you can get rid of your entire Instagram profile. Then, the company will be forced to delete all your data from its servers, purging it from public record as well.
In the Instagram app, go to Settings > Accounts Centre > Personal Details > Account Ownership and Control > Deactivation or Deletion. Here, choose the account that you want to delete, click Delete Account and then click Continue.
If you’re using Instagram on the web, use their Delete your account page to get started.