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VG Tuesday Tips: How to delete VKontakte (but keep your data)

  Virtual Graffiti

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VKontakte is one of the most popular social networks in Russia. Although it’s less known outside the country, you may have signed up out of curiosity or to chat with Russian friends. But then perhaps your Russian pals got on Facebook and VKontakte became irrelevant. This post is about how to delete your redundant profile while keeping something to remember it by.

How to download data from VKontakte

Let’s start by preserving what’s accumulated in your VKontakte account. This is not as difficult as it may seem — if you ask nicely, VKontakte will send you an archive with your data. To do so, click the button at the bottom of this linked page.

True, you can’t count on being sent everything you’ve managed to amass during your sojourn on VKontakte. The company does not allow downloading of music and videos, so the archive will be of no use in that regard. There are many apps and extensions online for exporting media files from VK. But remember they are all unofficial, which means they may be less than reliable, or even malicious. So we do not advise using them.

Beloved videos and songs aside, you can still save a lot of valuable stuff:

  • Personal correspondence. You will be sent all of your chats with users and communities, including ones you deleted relatively recently (not earlier than six months before creating the archive).
  • Your posts. More precisely, the text of your posts with links to photos, videos, and the posts themselves, as well as a reminder that audio was once attached to them (if it was). In other words, media files in your posts are lost when you delete your profile, but you can still use the link in the archive to open other people’s messages that you reposted.
  • Links to posts, notes, photos, videos, and products that you liked or bookmarked. All can be opened even after you leave the social network, unless the authors themselves delete such posts or hide them from unregistered users.
  • Your photos. You will receive an HTML page with all your albums and saved pictures and photos in which you were tagged. True, pictures are uploaded to this page from the VKontakte servers and can be opened only while on these servers. When your account is deactivated, they will remain there for at least another 210 days, giving you ample time to restore them. After that they can be deleted, so we would recommend saving your favorite memes one by one.
  • Gifts. You will be sent all gifts, related comments, and links to the senders’ pages.
  • Profile info. Your contact details, user pic, list of interests, favorite quotes, and other stuff you’ve revealed about yourself are saved as an HTML page.

  • Information about actions in VKontakte (payments, transfers, logins, blocks, etc.) and how the social network’s targeted advertising mechanism views you. As a backup, it’s probably of little use to you, but it can help assess the scale of data collection.
  • Lists of friends, and people and communities you follow. If such profiles are not closed to unregistered users, you will be able to read their posts even after deleting your account.

Note that the archive can take up to a few days to create, so a quick download-and-delete is not an option. At the same time, when the VKontakte administration sends you a message with a link to the backup, we recommend saving it immediately; the archive will be available for download for just one week.

How to delete your VKontakte account

Now that you’ve saved everything you can, it’s time to get down to business. Leaving VKontakte is easy:

  • Click the user pic icon at the top right of the page;
  • Go to Settings;
  • Scroll down to You can delete your profile here and click the link;
  • Optionally, give a reason for leaving and let your friends know. Or you can just disappear silently;
  • Click Delete Profile. All done!

Your data won’t instantly vanish from the social network. First, the service has a legal obligation to store it for at least six months. And second, as we already mentioned, you have 210 days to change your mind and rejoin. If later you decide that life without VKontakte is not worth living:

  • Sign in to your account as before (yes, you can still do that);
  • Click Restore.

Moreover, your name will still pop up in lists of community members and friends of other users. Likewise, your comments and likes will not go anywhere. So if you want to disappear for good, you will have to get rid of everything manually.

How to delete a VKontakte account without a computer

It may happen that you want to delete your account but don’t have access to a desktop or laptop. Regrettably, the VKontakte mobile app contains no such option. To leave the social network using a smartphone, you need to log in using a browser. In the mobile version of the website, the procedure is slightly different:

  1. Tap the three bars in the lower right of the screen;
  2. Open Settings — the gear icon at the top right;
  3. Select Account;
  4. At the bottom of the page, find the You can delete your profile here link and tap it;
  5. State a reason for leaving (again, this is not necessary);
  6. Click Delete Profile.

How to delete a page you can’t access

As you can see, it is not difficult to get rid of a VKontakte profile. But what if your account has been hacked and the password changed? Or, say, you want to delete a page that you abandoned so long ago that your phone number and e-mail address are now different?

First, try to restore access:

  • On the login page, click Forgot your password?;
  • If your phone number or e-mail address is different now, click If you do not remember any details or can’t access your linked phone, try clicking here under the recovery form;
  • Specify the link to the relevant page.

The social network will ask you to provide a valid phone number and confirm your identity. To do so, you will need to remember the phone number that you linked to the page (if different from the current one), or one of your old passwords, or better still, both. If your mind is a total blank, you will be asked to take a picture of yourself against the backdrop of the app, and upload the photo.

As a last resort, you can contact the support team from another account (yours or a friend’s). True, if you overindulged on anime avatars and made-up names, you will probably not receive assistance. But if the profile you want to delete contains your real name and photo:

  • Sign in to your new (or a friend’s) account, click the avatar icon in the top right of the screen, and in the dropdown menu, select Help.
  • In the resulting FAQ list, expand the answer to the question How do I delete my profile without having access to?, and click the Block profile button beneath it. You will be asked to describe the problem, provide a link to the page, and attach two photos: an identity document and you against the backdrop of the block request.
  • Specify the necessary information, upload the images, and submit the request.
  • Wait for a reply from the support team and follow its instructions.