If you’ve been on Facebook for any amount of time, it’s likely that you’ve accumulated a lot of posts, some of which you may wish you hadn’t, well, posted. You may want to hide your past entries from a potential employer or a college admissions board — or you may just want to enhance your personal security by eliminating identifiable information.
Early in June, Facebook announced a new bulk-delete feature for the mobile app that it calls Manage Activity, and that makes it easier to get rid of all of your past posts. The idea is that you will now have the ability to select some or all of your posts and delete them all at once. However, if you really want to clean up your Facebook backlog, this version of the feature leaves something to be desired.
Here’s how it currently works:
On your Profile page, tap on the three dots next to “Add to Story” Select “Activity Log” You’ll now be on the Activity Log page. At the top, tap on the button labeled “Manage Activity” You’ll get a “Manage Activity” pop-up; tap on “Your Posts” You’ll now be at the “Manage Your Posts” page. At the top of the page, there are three buttons: Filter, Archive, and Trash. You can delete or archive your posts. You can only select the posts that have populated the list. The Filter button lets you filter which posts you’d like to select (assuming you don’t want to just delete them all). You can select by Category (such as text updates, photos and videos, or posts from other apps), Date, or People. After you select your filter, you can click on individual filtered posts. After that, click on Archive or Trash at the bottom of the screen. According to Facebook, you’ll be able to retrieve any trashed entries for 30 days, after which they’ll be permanently deleted. In addition, at the top of the listing, there is a checkbox; if you tap that, it will select all of the posts that are currently in your list so that you can delete them all at once. However, here’s the catch: Facebook will only delete those posts that are in the visible list — and it will only populate the list if you continue to scroll down. So, for example, while I have a lot of Facebook posts that have photos in them, when I filtered the list for “Photos and Videos,” I was only able to select posts through May 2016 because that was as far as I had scrolled. If you have several years’ worth of Facebook posts that you want to delete, that’s a lot of scrolling — and waiting. (On my phone, the app paused to repopulate after every 10 posts.) At any rate, once you’ve selected all of the posts you want to delete, tap the “Trash” button (or the “Archive” button if you prefer) If you’ve trashed any posts by mistake or have changed your mind, select “Trash” on the top of the page to see all of the posts you’ve trashed. You can then click on the three dots to the right of each entry to view the entry, restore it, archive it, or permanently delete it.
It’s very possible that this is only the first iteration of the new Manage Activity feature, and that a future update will provide a more practical solution. According to Facebook, Manage Activity will only be available on the mobile app for now, but it will eventually appear on the desktop version.