How to Quickly Delete Lots of Old Facebook Posts

It’s easy enough to delete one Facebook post at a time, but there’s no built in way to delete posts in batch. For that, you’ll need to turn to a browser extension.

RELATED: How to Make Facebook Less Annoying

Facebook has had a bad few months. The Cambridge Analytica fiasco is only the latest thing making people re-evaluate how Facebook fits into their lives. You could always totally quit Facebook if you want, but for many that’s not an option. Maybe you need it for work, maybe you need it to participate in groups or message friends, or maybe you just like using it. But what about all those old, embarrassing or sensitive posts? Or what if you want to wipe all your old posts and just start fresh?

If you’ve used Facebook for a while, it would take way too much time to go back and delete every post individually. Personally, I’ve been using Facebook’s “On This Day” feature to check back over old posts and delete those I don’t like. But, if you want a quick way to delete a lot of posts at once, you’ll need to use a browser extension.

RELATED: Browser Extensions Are a Privacy Nightmare: Stop Using So Many of Them

This post comes with our standard warning about browser extensions being a privacy nightmare. Yes, it’s ironic that we’re fighting one privacy problem by using another. But it’s pretty much the only way to get this done. And you can always remove the extension when you’re finished using it.

We’re going to use Social Book Post Manager for Google Chrome. We haven’t been able to find a Firefox or Safari extension that works as easily, so even if you’re not a Chrome user, you’re probably best off installing Chrome temporarily just so you can use this extension to tidy up your Facebook account.

Open Chrome and head to the Social Book Post Manager page in the Chrome Web Store. Click the “Add to Chrome” button.

Next, click the “Add Extension” button. You’ll then need to exit and reopen Chrome to finish installing the extension.

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Now the extension is ready, head to Facebook. If you want to, you can download a copy of all the data you’ve ever posted to Facebook as a backup. After that (or instead of that if you don’t care about backing up your old posts), click the downward facing arrow in the top right and select the “Activity Log” command.

The Activity Log shows everything you’ve ever done on Facebook. It’s kind of terrifying to just scroll back through. You can see specific kinds of activity using the filters on the left side, and jump to a certain date using the navigation on the right side.

If you want to delete everything you’ve done, leave Activity Log selected in the filters. Otherwise, if you just want to delete the things you’ve posted or the posts you’re tagged in, use the relevant filters. The Social Book Post Manager works on whatever posts are included in the filter you have set up.

When you have your filter set up, click the “Social Book Post Manager” icon in Chrome to bring up the extension.

There are a few options here for fine tuning which posts you target.

  • Year: target a specific year or just choose Select All.
  • Month: target a specific month or just choose select All.
  • Text Contains: only target posts containing a certain keyword.
  • Text Not Contains: only target posts without a certain keyword.
  • Prescan On Page: lets you review which posts will be deleted before they’re actually deleted.
  • Speed: how fast Social Book Post Manager works. On a faster computer with a good internet connection, you can use a higher speed.

To demonstrate how this all works, I’m going to target all of my own posts from November 2007. First, I selected the “Posts” filter in Facebook so that the extension will only target my own posts. Then, I opened up the Social Book Post Manager extension, selected 2007 for the year, and November for the month. I’ve left the “Prescan on Page” option enabled so that I can review posts before they are deleted. And I’m not using any keywords.

Set Social Book Post Manager up the way you want, and then click the “Delete” button. Social Book Post Manager will run, scrolling down the page as it does. Sit back and let it do its thing. The more posts you’re targeting, the longer it will take.

When it’s done scanning, you’ll see the results. If you had the prescan option turned on, it shows a list of matching posts with a little blue tick next to each post it’s targeting for deletion. If you didn’t have the prescan on, your posts will have already been deleted.

If you did use the prescan on, you can run through and deselect any posts you want to keep. You can also open the “Confirm to Delete” menu and select or deselect all the posts at once. When you’ve reviewed and selected posts, open up that “Confirm to Delete” menu, and then select the “Delete” command.

Once again, Social Book Post Manager will get work to work deleting posts. When it’s done, the posts will be gone.

While deleting your old posts is a good idea, it won’t help you if third party already has your data. Similarly, while Facebook claims in their Terms of Service that anything you delete also gets deleted from their servers, they also state that “the removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (generally, for a maximum of 90 days…)” and will be held for longer “if required by applicable law, order of any government agency or judicial body, or the like”.

Harry Guinness writes occasionally when he’s not busy skiing, sailing, partying, lifting weights, or otherwise dodging responsibility. His main areas of interest are himself, gin, and crazy people with interesting stories to tell. When people won’t pay him to write ill-thought-out opinion pieces, he covers photography, technology, and culture. You can follow him on Twitter.