For a while now, Facebook has been showing deactivated accounts in one's friends list, which is nice. However, the total number of friends in my list, including disabled accounts, is one less than the "All Friends" count at the top. How can this be? Does Facebook count me as my own friend, or is there something else going on (that may or may not involve a National Security Letter)? I certainly want to know exactly who is able to view my posts, and so the implication that there's someone not on that list is unnerving. Privacy and security is the reason why deactivated accounts were made visible on the friends' list, so it would seem inconsistent with that action that there is some other account status that can allow someone to not show up in one's friends list while still being able to view their content. I've messaged Facebook support, but don't expect a response. Unless I confirm here this is normal, I think I need to take further steps, though I'm not sure what at this stage.

  • I'm still not sure what you're trying to say and what answer you are expecting to get from anyone who doesn't work at Facebook. It's either a visual bug or a result of one of the answers listed at webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/3184/…
    – phwd
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 10:49
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    Those answers refer to the time before Facebook made deactivated accounts visible in the friends list, so you can unfriend them. That doesn't apply in the last year or so. The answer I'm expecting is this: I have 149 "friends" but can only see and unfriend 148 of them, which means there's an account I don't know, to which I cannot revoke access to my private (friends only) content. I need resolution to this. What's not to understand? Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 17:17

2 Answers 2


I've found that friends that disable their own account still appear (only to you) in your friends list and you can unfriend them; these friends can re-activate their account whenever they like. However if Facebook has disabled the account due to someone reporting it as a fake name or account, then they no longer appear in your friends list. If the person eventually clears this up with Facebook (e.g. by sending Facebook a copy of their ID) then Facebook may re-enable their account and they will re-appear on your friends list.

I agree with you that you should still be able to unfriend these people, but Facebook does not appear to provide a way to do that (other than deleting your account).


I got my answer after I filed a complaint with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Unsurprisingly, Facebook didn't ignore their query like it did mine. The answer is that, while accounts that users deactivate themselves do show up in your friends list, allowing you to unfriend them, accounts that Facebook staff disable (such as due to violation of ToC) do not show up. I presume, but don't know for sure, that such accounts can never be activated again, so it's not a security danger that one can't see them in one's friends list and unfriend them.

  • At least in the case of the account being disabled due to someone falsely reporting it as using a fake name, the account can be re-enabled by Facebook if the person sends Facebook a copy of their ID when requested.
    – mark4o
    Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 22:40
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    That's not good. There should be a way to unfriend these accounts. Commented Apr 4, 2015 at 0:07
  • @Display Name, could you please provide proof of the answer from facebook, a copy of the email or scan of letter you received would be very helpful, thanks. Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 5:36
  • It's an almost 6 year old question... Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 23:17

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