23 Stars Who Quit Social Media … and How Long They Stayed Away
From facing abuse to just "feeling bad about it," these stars open up about why they needed to unplug
"Part of what made me peace out on social media, apart from feeling like I was losing my free will, was the massive amounts of stress I was feeling about our planet, about systemic racism, and about police brutality in this country," she said.
How long it lasted: Aside from a small, sporadic handful of posts — like urging fans to vote — Lorde, 24, has remained mostly absent from social media since mid-2018.
What went down: The singer has zero time to entertain any more Twitter trolls. On Jan 5, 2020, Lizzo tweeted, "Yeah I can’t do this Twitter s--- no more.. too many trolls..." She then further explained her departure during an Instagram Live session shortly before her concert at the Sydney Opera House in Australia, saying, “I just want to say that I, you know, I just took a DNA test and it turns out I quit Twitter. I quit Twitter. I’m off it. All social media is not created equal,” she said.
“I would love to be on Twitter ’cause I could connect with you people who positively support me… not to mention spreading my own positive messages,” she continued. “But now I’ve gotten to a point where I’m not just dealing with Internet bullies, I’m dealing with seeing a lot of negativity on the Internet dealing with everyone.”
How long it lasted: After writing that she will return "when I feel like it," Lizzo has stuck to her word and hasn't tweeted since. However, her account is still active. Her tweets are now handled by her management.
What went down: And he's off! The singer announced in December of 2019 that he'd once again be taking a break from social media (he announced his first break in December of 2015, and later quit Twitter in July of 2017).
He explained his decision in a note on Instagram, writing he was "just gonna take a breather to travel, write and read." The "Shape of You" singer added that he'll return "with some new music when the time is right and I've lived a little more to actually have something to write about."
How long it lasted: After initially swearing off social media in 2015, Sheeran returned to Instagram one year later (but now has said farewell to the platform once again), and hasn't tweeted since 2017.
What went down: Following criticism that she was undeserving of her best rap album Grammy win and some social media drama where she was pinned against her nemesis Nicki Minaj by the BET Network, the “Bodak Yellow” rapper got heated in an expletive-filled rant on her Instagram before deleting the video and her account entirely in February 2019.
This isn't the first time Cardi's deleted her Instagram after getting the last word: The "I Like It" singer briefly deactivated her account in May 2018, after getting in a heated online argument with fellow rapper Azealia Banks.
How long it lasted: Two days; on Feb. 13 she wrote she was "back from retirement" to announce a new song with Bruno Mars.
What went down: Following a lot of attention-grabbing tweets and a pro-Trump rant following his SNL performance in September 2018, West quit Twitter and Instagram on Oct. 5. "Kanye got to the point where he realized his rants were becoming unhealthy. This is why he deleted his account,” a source told PEOPLE. It wasn't the first time: he was gone from May 2017 to February 2018, too.
How long it lasted: West returned to social media just one week later, posting a photo of him hugging President Trump while wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat to Instagram. His account was later deactivated again, but is currently back online.
What went down: According to Entertainment Weekly, Rose's casting as The CW’s Batwoman was met with backlash online in August 2018. People opined that Rose, who identifies as gender fluid, is not right for the part of the first openly gay superhero at the helm of a television show.
Deadline reported that, before deleting her account, Rose tweeted, "Where on earth did 'Ruby is not a lesbian therefore she can’t be batwoman' come from — has to be the funniest most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read. I came out at 12? And have for the past 5 years had to deal with ‘she’s too gay’ how do y’all flip it like that? I didn’t change. I wish we would all support each other and our journeys." The actress has since quit Twitter and turned off the Instagram comments.
How long it lasted: As of November 2020, Rose has yet to return to Twitter. She has turned her Instagram comments back on to the public.
What went down: After then-fiancé Pete Davidson deleted his Instagram, Grande turned off comments on her own IG posts and tweeted, "The energy u put out is exactly what u get back, please create a beautiful life for yourselves." A fan then happily tweeted about the Sweetener singer's return to Snapchat, to which Grande replied, "i’m prolly gonna post on der for a little while & take a breather from twitter & ig for a little. just sometimes can’t help but bump into some negative s— that really can bum u out and it’s not worth it honestly. promised i’d always tell you. i love u sm ! be well & happy."
How long it lasted: Two months; by the end of September, comments were back.
What went down: In December 2018, Davidson deleted his Instagram after posting an alarming message. "I really don’t want to be on this earth anymore. I’m doing my best to stay here for you but i actually don’t know how much longer i can last," the Saturday Night Live star, 25, wrote. "All i’ve ever tried to do was help people. Just remember i told you so," he continued, adding a single red heart emoji.
Machine Gun Kelly, a friend of Davidson's, as well as ex-fiancé Ariana Grande went to check on the comedian, who was quickly accounted for at the Saturday Night Live studio.
Davidson had previously wiped the photos off his account in July 2018, explaining in part, "No there’s nothing wrong ... I just don’t wanna be on Instagram anymore. Or on any social media platform," he wrote. "The internet is an evil place and it doesn’t make me feel good ... I love you all and I’m sure I’ll be back at some point. your neighborhood goon, Pete."
How long it lasted: Davidson has yet to return to Instagram.
Kelly Marie Tran
What went down: When fans decided they didn't like her Star Wars: The Last Jedi character, Rose, they made it known, posting particularly hateful messages on the actress's Instagram photos. It was so bad costar Mark Hamill came to her defense, and she opened up about it in an August 2018 op-ed for the New York Times.
How long it lasted: Tran's Instagram account still exists, but is wiped of all her posts.
Millie Bobby Brown
What went down: The Stranger Things actress quit Twitter in June 2018 — which also happens to be Pride Month — after Twitter users began attacking the star with a homophobic meme seemingly attributed to her. Millie has previously shown her support for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
How long it lasted: The actress teased fans with a brief reappearance in January 2019, tweeting, "hi. i missed u."
What went down: The Dancing with the Stars pro announced in March 2018 that she is "dealing with some personal things right now" and would be stepping away from social media for an indefinite period of time. "I'm dealing with some personal things right now and need to take a break from social media," wrote Burke.
What went down: In November 2017, Buzzfeed criticized the actor's career in an article titled "10 Long Years of Trying to Make Armie Hammer Happen." When the outlet shared the review on Twitter, Hammer replied with, "Bitter AF." He deleted his account just one day later.
Hammer explained why he stepped away from the platform at TheWrap's Screening Series. "I just have no impulse control," he said. "So if somebody says something stupid, I couldn't help but say something back, and then it just exploded. This is a toxic environment, and my life is way better off. It's so funny — people are so addicted and into Twitter, it seems crazy that someone could walk away from it! They're like, wait, he deleted it? It was actually really easy."
How long it lasted: Just a few weeks; by mid-November he was tweeting again, asking, "is this thing still on?"
What went down: In November 2016, Rose posted on Instagram that she'd be taking time off from social media for the month of December. "Hey guys, I just want to let everyone know that I'm taking the rest of the year off of social media," Rose stated in a makeup-free video (accessorizing with the Snapchat flower crown filter, no less). "So I'll have Joe, my assistant, post some cool stuff for me, and I'll see you in the new year."
How long it lasted: Rose said the social media hiatus would last one month but in reality it lasted two weeks.
What went down: The model appeared to have suddenly deleted her Instagram account in November 2016. Instead of being greeted by fashionable photos, her millions of fans found a generic message on Jenner's Instagram page: "Sorry, this page isn't available. The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed." The model's other social media pages, such as Facebook and Twitter, were still up and running, however.
How long it lasted: Jenner's Instagram detox lasted one week. As for what sparked the break, the model spoke to Ellen DeGeneres while stopping by the host's show. "I just wanted a little bit of a break. I would wake up in the morning and look at it first thing, I would go to bed and it would be the last thing I looked at," she revealed. "I felt a little too dependent on it so I wanted to take a minute."
What went down: Days after Bieber threatened to make his Instagram private if his fans didn't stop sending hate toward his new flame (at the time), 18-year-old Sofia Richie, he stayed true to his word and shut down his account. It probably didn't help that his ex Selena Gomez commented this on a photo of him with Richie: "If you can't handle the hate, then stop posting pictures of your girlfriend lol - It should be special between you two only. Don't be mad at your fans. They love you and supported you before any one did."
How long it lasted: Bieber deactivated on Aug. 16, 2016, but returned soon after, sharing pics from his tour as well as throwback snapshots.
What went down: The "Motivation" singer was the recipient of nasty fan ire after she seemed to snub then-Fifth Harmony bandmate Camila Cabello. (When asked to say something nice about everyone in the group for a Facebook Live interview, Kordei seemed to stall at Cabello, saying: "She is … let's see. Camila. Very quirky. Yeah. Very quirky. Cute.") The online abuse – which included racist photos and insults – got so bad that Kordei announced she'd be leaving Twitter, writing in a note: "I have shown nothing but commitment for the success of Fifth Harmony even promoting on my days off but yet I always find myself as the target of unjust hate and slander."
How long it lasted: Her Twitter hiatus, which she announced on Aug. 8, 2016, wasn't permanent – she started tweeting again that September to stand up against cyberbullies.
What went down: The Star Wars: The Force Awakens actress quietly left Instagram in August 2016, after receiving a barrage of criticism for sharing an anti-gun violence post on her Instagram and Facebook pages. The message, which was posted two days prior, reflected on the call to action that was made to stop gun violence at the Teen Choice Awards, which Ridley attended. "As I sat in the audience yesterday tears were streaming down my face at the tribute to those that have been lost to gun violence," she wrote. "I didn't get a great picture of the incredible group that came onstage but they were so brave. It was a true moment of togetherness. We must #stoptheviolence."
How long it lasted: She came back, but by 2017 was gone again, telling Radio Times she thinks social media is "highly unhealthy for people’s mental health."
What went down: Following a barrage of racist, hateful and downright threatening tweets in the summer of 2016, the Ghostbusters star tweeted to defend herself against this "personal hell," saying that she'd be taking a break from the social media site: "I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart. All this cause I did a movie. You can hate the movie but the s––– I got today…wrong."
How long it lasted: Three days – and we're so glad she's back. "Welp ... a bitch thought she could stay away. But who else is gonna live tweet Game of Thrones!!" she tweeted.
What went down: In February of 2015, the rapper said she'd be quitting Twitter after receiving unflattering comments about paparazzi photos taken of her in a bikini while on vacation in Hawaii. "Just got back from a great vacation, came online and saw apparently it's shocking and unheard of to be a woman and have cellulite," she tweeted. She announced that her management would be handling her account from then on "unless any message is signed -IA."
How long it lasted: Just a few months, after which she returned with updates about her dog.
What went down: In early 2014, the unthinkable happened: Rihanna quit Instagram entirely, leaving her handle – @badgalRiRi – disabled. Apparently, this was an accident on the part of Instagram, but then again, she didn't immediately get it restored.
How long it lasted: She returned six months later, praise the Lord. (Nov. 1, 2014, will forever be known as the historic day of The Rihturn.)
What went down: In September of 2015, Dunham announced that she had hired someone to tweet on her behalf so as to avoid "verbal violence." "I really appreciate that anybody follows me at all, and so I didn't want to cut off my relationship to it completely, but it really, truly wasn't a safe space for me," she said. The Girls star continued to be very active on Instagram.
How long it lasted: Hard to tell, because it seemed like tweets were still in her voice! Maybe the person she hired was tweeting exactly what Dunham told him or her to, like this one: "I used to be attracted to damaged men. Now I am attracted to damaged dogs."
What went down: In October of 2014, the model/prolific tweeter said she'd be leaving the social media site after receiving death threats following a controversial tweet regarding a shooting in the Canadian capital of Ottawa. "I can't see anything through the sea of hate and anger that is now my Twitter. Seriously I can't sift through it all."
How long it lasted: A week. Seven days later, she tweeted: "I'm bored. I missed you guys. Question time!" Chrissy, don't ever play with our hearts like that ever again.
What went down: This may not have been a total social media black-out, per se, but Swift said "people might need a break" from her in October 2015, and posted significantly less on Instagram and Twitter.
How long it lasted: Her posting frequency was at an all-time low, and then, before the release of her 2017 album Reputation, she deleted her entire Instagram feed, later posting teasers before making a real return to the platform later in the year.