The internet has made it possible for just about anyone to access information about you with the click of a button. But if you’re a security-conscious person, this may not sit well with you. Fear not, erasing yourself entirely from the internet can be a big task, but it is possible.
Delete or deactivate your online accounts
- social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs, etc.)
- online shopping accounts (eBay, CatchOfTheDay, Amazon, etc.)
- web services accounts (email, Dropbox, Flybuys, etc.)
All sites vary, but generally, you’ll find the option to delete or deactivate under a title such as Security or Privacy.
Contrary to popular belief, your Facebook account can be permanently deleted (not just deactivated). All you need to do is head to Delete My Account and click the blue button. Be warned, however, that this is a permanent step. So if you wish to keep your Facebook history, be sure to download it onto your computer first. Do this by clicking on Account Settings > General > Download a copy of your Facebook Data > Start My Archive.
When it comes to blogs, you may need to contact the webmaster if you want to have an old blog post removed.
Tip: leave your email deactivation until the end, so that if you need to resend passwords to yourself to complete the deactivation process, you’ll have somewhere to send them.
Remove your information from data collection websites
You might have noticed ads running across your computer screen that seem to be tailored to you – this is not a coincidence. Some sites collect and store your information in order to promote products to you while you’re browsing online.
Rather than tracking down all these websites (how would you know!) the most effective way to remove yourself from their databases is to fork out a bit of money. For the one-year membership of $130, services like DeleteMe do the hard work for you, and make sure your name is never re-added to any lists.
Deleting yourself from the internet means backtracking through your history and erasing your online footprint. It can be difficult to really know whether your data will be permanently removed, but by following this guide you will do more than enough to disappear from the online world – if that’s your wish.