I deactivated my Facebook account earlier this year, and opened Spotify to jam to some celebratory tunes. When I signed in to Spotify, my email instantly chimed with a message, and the subject line: “Welcome back to Facebook!”
What the fuck?
This happened so many times—deactivating, logging in to Spotify, Facebook respawning like a looping nightmare—I just gave up for a while and kept my Facebook active. I did eventually figure out how to untangle my Spotify and Facebook accounts from one another, but it required surgical separation: I had to create a new Spotify account and start all over.
Read more: The Data That Turned the World Upside Down
This week, the New York Times reported even more damning evidence that Facebook mishandled users’ data—and dragged a whole slew of the biggest tech companies in the world with it. Among other giants like Amazon and Netflix, Mark Zuckerberg’s social network gave Spotify access to read users’ private messages without their consent (it did this to allow users within Spotify to send and receive DMs within the app.) In this case, the impropriety may be a little overblown, but there are lots of reasons why you might want to use Spotify without logging into Facebook, namely that you don’t want a Facebook anymore.
When you sign up for Spotify, you have the option—like many platforms these days—to register using your email address, or by linking your Facebook account as your login. The Facebook option is, convenience-wise, a lot more appealing: One click, no creating a password or filling out a registration form with your personal data. Facebook will do it for you.
If you deactivate your Facebook, but try to log in to your linked Spotify account, Facebook counts it as a login on its own platform—and reactivates for you.
But once Facebook and Spotify are connected, it becomes a herculean task to pry them apart. And if you’re in the #DeleteFacebook boat, or just want to disentangle the social network from your services, this becomes a real problem. If you created your account with a Facebook login, “it’s not possible to disconnect,” according to Spotify’s help page on the topic. Your only option is to open a new account and start over with your email address, instead.
Maybe you don’t remember if you signed up for Spotify with Facebook. If you don’t see an option in your account settings to “disconnect from Facebook,” that means you signed up using Facebook. You won’t be able to keep things like your search history or any of the algorithmically-generated custom playlists that Spotify makes based on your listening history, but it’s possible to at least transfer your playlists to a new, separate account that only uses your email address to log in. It’s a pain in the ass, but it’s not completely impossible.
Most of these steps require some access to your old account, so you’ll have to login at least one last time (and thereby reactivate Facebook again, goddammit) to save your stuff.
To separate the two completely, you’ll have to start completely over. Create a new Spotify account with a different email address, and register using the email/password option instead of that tempting one-click Facebook login.
To migrate your old data like history and Spotify-created custom mixes, you’ll need to write to Spotify support and ask them to move your stuff to the new account. Or, if it’s just your playlist collection you’re trying to move, try this:
- While logged in to your old account, click and drag a whole playlist to your desktop from the playlist sidebar.
- Log out of that Spotify account, and into your new, not-Facebook-linked account.
- Drag the playlist from your desktop, into your new account’s Playlists section.
This method’s a little finicky when I tried it (sometimes it takes a few attempts before it successfully copies) but it works.
Alternatively, you can make all of your playlists public and collaborative, login with your new account, subscribe to the playlists, and then delete your old account. Or, you could subscribe to your old account’s playlists, make new blank playlists on your new account, copy the songs from the old playlists to the new playlists, then delete the old playlists and your old account.
Spotify can’t transfer your Premium subscription between accounts, however, so you’ll have to cancel it on the old account and start a new one on your fresh, un-Facebooked account.
If anything is another piece of evidence that Facebook is a data monopoly—as Zuckerberg keeps trying to deny—it’s this struggle to get out of the quagmire of the connected login mechanism.