Now I have a business page on Facebook, how can I delete my personal profile?


I set up a Facebook account for my business but I did it as a personal page. I then realised my mistake, so I now have a shortcut link to a business page. How can I delete the personal page, because I only want to have one business page? Jenny

You can’t. As I understand it – which is always fuzzy, given the way Facebook keeps changing things – every page must be linked to a personal profile. However, the link isn’t visible to other users, unless you add it yourself.

In an online answer, Jade from the Facebook Help Team says: “We will never release your name to the general public stating that you are linked to the Page. Please know that the Personal Profile must represent a real person and can not have the name of a business.”

However, you can always set Facebook’s privacy control to restrict access to your personal page. Click the down arrow in the top right, select Settings and then Privacy. The section on “Who can see my stuff?” provides options from “Public” to “Friends” to “Only me”. You don’t need to delete your personal profile if only you can see it.

In general, I think Friends is the best setting for small and personal businesses, assuming you are active on Facebook. Your friends are most likely to Like your business page, most likely to comment, and most likely to recommend it to their friends. Large corporations have other ways to generate a following, but friends do it without you having to pay for it.

Personal profiles v business pages



Facebook creators Mark Zuckerberg and Chris Hughes

in 2004. Photograph: Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images

Facebook was launched in 2004 as a social networking website, initially for students at Harvard University. It was based on the idea of connecting real people in real time, and users’ identities were based on their university email address. This fundamental concept was maintained as Facebook expanded to other universities, schools and colleges, then to work networks, and eventually to everyone aged 13 and over.

The only concession is that – following protests from drag queens, among others – Facebook now allows people to use the names they use in real life, even if they are not their birth names. (Lil Miss Hot Mess was “beyond thrilled”.)

None the less, it is against Facebook’s terms of service to set up a personal account using a business name, or to use a personal account for business. If you do this, Facebook can and often will delete your account. Since Facebook knows who you are, it may not be easy to create a new one.

Facebook tried to solve this problem by introducing Facebook Pages for Businesses, which were announced on 6 November 2007. This process is by now pretty much automated at Create a Page, where Facebook offers set-ups for local businesses, companies and organisations, brands and products, artists and public figures, entertainment, and community causes.



Facebook’s Create a Page function Photograph: Facebook

Pages plusses

Pages have advantages over profiles. For example, you can have an unlimited number of business pages, with an unlimited number of followers. You can block people, block certain words, and turn on a Profanity Filter. You can access Page Insights with demographic information about visitors, and you can create advertisements to boost posts. You can also use Page Roles to allow other people to edit, moderate, or even contribute to your business page.

The main thing you lose is privacy controls.

Most individuals, and many small businesses, do not understand the difference between personal profiles and business pages, and some fall naturally into grey areas, such as pseudonymous users with stage names. Facebook therefore makes it easy to convert personal profiles into pages. For instructions, see: How do I convert my personal account to a Facebook Page?

Facebook says “the name on your personal account will become the page’s name.” This is clearly not what you want, but you can change it later. Also note that posts on your personal profile are not carried over to your new page. This will be a good thing for some users and a bad one for others. Some users may need to download the data from their personal profile – that option is under Settings – and re-upload posts to their new page.

Of course, even if you are not planning to create or convert a page, it’s always a good idea to back up your data.

Promoting your page

Facebook has some short tutorials on how to Promote Your Business From Your Facebook Page, plus Blueprint eLearning, which offers a number of short courses. (There’s even one for How Journalists Can Best Utilize Facebook and Instagram.) These courses include useful information about features such as Notes, 360-degree images and broadcasting live video. You will not be surprised when courses encourage you to spend money on Facebook promotions, but there’s enough information to make them worth a look.

Facebook Business Manager

One way to separate your personal profile and your business pages it to use Facebook’s Business Manager, which covers both Facebook and Instagram accounts, and Facebook apps. It’s also a key program in Facebook’s mission to sell you advertising.



Facebook now has more than 2 billion monthly active users, and losing access to that market could be a blow to many of those who operate business pages. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Business Manager enables multiple people to manage multiple accounts, under your control. This is obviously essential in businesses where more than one person updates pages, and in large businesses with external contributors such as graphic artists, photographers and advertising agencies. It may be overkill for a small business, but it’s worth considering.

Note that once a page has been added to Business Manager, that page can only be accessed and managed from Business Manager.

Facebook rules

Although people generally ignore the “small print” – if they even know it exists – it’s a good idea to read the Facebook Pages Terms page, which specifies what you can and cannot do. There are even more guidelines for developers who use Facebook as a platform.

Always bear in mind that, like it or not, there is no viable alternative to Facebook, unless you live in Russia (VKontakte) or China (Renren). Facebook writes the laws, operates the police force, and is also the judge and executioner.

Of course, the same things are true of many other web properties including Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Reddit. They are all self-regulating. The difference is that most sites allow or even encourage pseudonymous or anonymous users – get thrown off Twitter and you can be back in seconds – whereas Facebook does what it can to tie your account to your personal identity. And it has a huge amount of information about you, including who your friends are.

It’s not obligatory to have a Facebook account, and plenty of people survive without one. But Facebook now has more than 2 billion monthly active users, and losing access to that market could be a blow to many of those who operate business pages.

Have you got a question? Email it to Ask.Jack@theguardian.com


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