We all have weird friends on Facebook. While some regularly post obnoxious stuff, others don't use Facebook at all. Even worse, some keep bombarding you with game invites. At some point, we want to unfriend these strange characters. While unfriending a person is easy, what if the person has deactivated their account, how do you unfriend them?
Well, a way exists that lets you remove the deactivated profiles. You will need the help of the Facebook website to perform the gruesome act as it’s not possible to delete such profiles from the mobile apps.
However, before we jump to the real action, let’s step back a little and understand what happens when a person deactivates their account.
What Happens with the Deactivated Facebook Account
Deactivating a Facebook profile disables it for a temporary period. That is, the deactivated profile, their photos, and other things on Facebook are hidden from other users. Facebook doesn't delete their data which includes photos, posts, friends, videos, etc. All that data reappears whenever the same profile is reactivated.
Unfriend Deactivated Profiles
To remove the deactivated profiles from your Facebook account, first, you will need to visit the Friends section. Then find and identify the ghost profiles that you want to remove followed by unfriending them.
Here are the steps in detail.
1. Open Facebook Friends Section
Visiting the Friends section is important because you cannot view the profile otherwise through the Facebook search.
You can see the Friends section in the following ways:
Method 1: From Your Profile
Open the Facebook website and go to your profile by clicking on your profile picture icon present in the top bar. Then click on the Friends tab present below your cover photo.
Method 2: From the Home Page
On the home page of the Facebook website, click on the Friend lists option present in the left sidebar under Explore. On the next screen, click on the See All Friends option at the top.
Method 3: Use Direct Link
Open this link, and it will take you to the Friends section directly.
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2. Find and Identify Deactivated Profiles
Now that you can see all your Facebook friends, it’s time to find and identify the deactivated profiles.
How to Identify Deactivated Accounts
Deactivated profiles cannot be accessed through search, as mentioned earlier. So under Friends, you will have to look for certain clues.
For starters, deactivated profiles do not have a profile picture. Instead, they have the default Facebook silhouette. However, not every profile with a silhouette picture indicates that it has been deactivated. Some people may have removed their profile picture.
Another way to identify deactivated profiles is to look for the total number of mutual friends next to their name. If the profile has the default Facebook image and doesn’t show mutual friends, it means the account has been deactivated.
Lastly, the easiest way to know is to click on the profile with the default Facebook image. If the profile is available, you will be taken to it. However, if it has been deactivated, you will get the pop-up saying that the account has been deactivated.
Look for Deactivated Accounts
Once you know how to identify deactivated accounts, it’s time to find them. Two cases arise: find the Facebook friend who has deactivated his/her account or find all deactivated profiles.
In the first case, where you know who you want to unfriend — let's say your ex, use the search box. Basically, look for that person by typing his/her name in the ‘Search for your friends’ box available on the Friends page.
To find all or multiple deactivated profiles at once, you will have to repeat the above method. That is, you will have to type A-Z alphabets in the search query one by one and look for deactivated profiles. You can also scroll through your friends list to find such profiles. Sadly, there is no dedicated or a simple way to achieve it.
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3. Remove Deactivated Friends
Lastly, once you have found the deactivated profile, hit the Friends drop-down option available next to their name and select Unfriend from the menu.
Alternatively, click on their name under Friends and you will be offered a pop-up. Click Unfriend.
What Happens When You Unfriend Deactivated Friends
Nothing exceptional. Just as you remove any other friend, the deactivated profile will be deleted from your list. You cannot view, comment, or like each other’s private posts or view stories when the other person reactivates. If you want to do all of that, then you will have to add them again.
Should You Remove Deactivated Friends?
I would advise against it unless you don’t want to be friends with them in the future. That's because deactivating a profile is a temporary task for the other person hasn’t deleted their account. So when the person comes back on Facebook, *surprise surprise* you will no longer be friends with them.
Also, how is their silent presence inside the Friends section bothering you? So unless those ghost profiles really get on your nerves, the answer is no.
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Time to Bid Goodbye or Not
So that's how you can remove those ghost profiles from your account. But if you decide on keeping them on your friends list, there are alternative ways to stop interacting with such profiles. For instance, you can hide or unfollow them or put them in a restricted list. Fortunately, since none of the features unfriends you or notifies them, you can live a happy life without deleting them.
Next up: Do you want to block someone on Facebook but don't know its repercussions? Read the post to know what happens after blocking and unblocking someone on Facebook.