The allure of Facebook and Instagram stories is often that they are ephemeral, only lasting 24 hours before vanishing into the data void. But Facebook recently added a Story Archive option on top of the Stories bar, which means that your stories can be stored for future views or re-use. While the Story Archive is now the default option on Facebook, there are also some pretty quick and simple steps you can take if you want to delete an archived story on Facebook.
According to Facebook's Help Center website, any photo or video that you delete before its natural 24-hour life cycle is up will not be recorded in your Story Archive. However, if your story has run its course and disappeared, it still exists in your Archive. That being said, you're the only person who can see those archived stories, unless you re-post them.
So, if you want to delete stories in your archive, you have two options: you can either disable the archive function altogether, or manually delete individual stories from it. If you want to ensure nothing gets saved to your Story Archive, you go to your own Facebook profile page, click the little padlock symbol that says "Archive" up at the top, and then click the gear icon up at the top right of that next page. From there you can decide whether you want the Story Archive on or off.
However, you might find yourself wanting to preserve your archive in general, just not for that one picture or video. If that's the case, there is a way to delete individual posts from your Story Archive, as well. According to Adweek, you tap the "Archive" option on your profile once again, and then scroll through your Story posts until you find what you want to delete. From there, you select that post and click on the three dots that appear at the top right of your screen. Finally, you choose the delete option and confirm your decision in the pop-up box. Just like that, you're all good to go.
This ability to delete specific images or videos from your Story Archive is a reminder that it's not a bad idea to think twice before you post something you might want to delete later. Sure, it's only up for 24 hours, but it might not be worth worrying about having to delete in the future. That's especially true as the line between professional accounts and personal social media accounts continue to blur.
Along with the very real psychological impulses that drive users to post on social media in the first place, the temptation to post all kinds of content to your Facebook Stories is still all too real — after all, the app is literally at the tips of your fingers. But since Stories will automatically be saved in your archive unless you turn the feature off, it's important to remember that every post counts. At the same time, if you decide you want to delete an old Facebook story, it's a pretty simple fix.