After it is created, a Facebook profile does not expire. There are ways to make a profile less visible over long-term inactivity. However, any sort of profile removal from Facebook requires an action such as deletion or deactivation by the user. Even in the event of the death of a user, a profile remains visible.
Profile Life and Inactivity
Regardless of the amount of inactivity, a Facebook profile remains on Facebook's servers and is visible to friends. However, if a profile is inactive for a long time, it will likely become less prominent in other users' news feeds. This is due to the inactivity of the profile as well as the fact that the Facebook news feed is governed by an algorithm that prioritizes popular posts and the most frequent contacts of a user.
Memorializing a Facebook Account
If a Facebook user dies, his account can be memorialized. To memorialize an account, Facebook must receive a request to do so from a friend of the deceased. To confirm the death, information such as an obituary is necessary. In the event of a death, a profile can be removed, but the only people who are authorized to request the removal of a deceased person's profile are immediate family members of the deceased.
Deleting a Facebook Account
To delete a Facebook account, the user logs in to the account and navigates to the Help Center. In the Help Center, the user selects the "Manage Your Account" tab and then selects the "Deactivating, Deleting & Memorializing" link. Under the instructions for deleting an account is a "Fill out this form" link. Clicking this link, and then confirming the account deletion removes the profile permanently. When you delete your profile in this way, your account and the information associated with it are gone forever. If you wish to preserve any information from your profile, you can download it to your computer before you delete your account.
Deactivating a Facebook Account
Deactivation is a less-permanent alternative to deleting a Facebook account. It allows you to rejoin Facebook with your information intact, should you wish to do so. In your Facebook "Account Settings" screen, select the "Security" options. At the bottom of the Security screen is a link titled "Deactivate your account." When you click this, you are asked your reasons for deactivation. After confirming your deactivation, your profile and the information associated with it disappear from Facebook. When you wish to rejoin Facebook, log in to your account in the usual manner and your information reappears.
- Photo Credit Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images