These days, people are uploading more and more of their personal information on the web, particularly through social media. It may be all “fun and games,” but be weary of prying eyes and untrustworthy “friends.”
With that, if you’re getting tired of being pursued, notified, messaged, tagged, emailed, called, liked, poked, voted up, voted down, “unfriended”, “friended” and drowned in all of the social interactions you’re expected to adhere to, then it’s probably time to think about pulling out. By constantly supplying your social feeds with information, you’re also giving a lot about yourself away too.
If you think it’s all been too much, or you’re just over it, here’s how to track down and eradicate your digital self.
Your Main Targets:
Don’t worry too much about your old Bebo, MySpace or MSN accounts for the moment… turn your attention to the big guys instead; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. They have the furthest reach and, most likely, the most information about you. Thankfully, erasing yourself from their data banks is pretty easy.
First of all, don’t fall into the trap of “Deactivating” your account and thinking you’re all done. Unfortunately, “Deactivation” and “Deletion” are two very different concepts to Facebook. “Deactivating” your account is Facebook’s way of giving you the opportunity to change your mind – if you “deactivate” your account, you can always change your mind… which means that Facebook keeps all of your information on record, just in case.
To “Deactivate”, just go to Account Settings > Security > Deactivate your account.
If you really want your account to go up in a metaphorical puff of smoke, then you’ll need to head over to the Delete My Account page and hit the big blue buttong, “Delete My Account.” Be warned, this process is irreversible! It might take a week or two to fully kick in because the system will need to scan every element of itself to ensure that every mention, like, comment, tag or anything else to do with you is erased.
If the only thing holding you back is the fact that you love your pictures and other little bits and pieces like that, then don’t worry; you can download the lot by going here: Account Settings > General > Download a copy of your Facebook Data > Start My Archive.
When Twitter says, “Deactivate” it means, “Delete” and the whole process is a lot easier than our dear old friend, Facebook, makes it. Head on over to Account Settings > Deactivate my account > Okay, fine, deactivate account.
You’ll then be prompted for your password. Just type it in and you’re almost done. Well, technically you are done, but Twitter will hold your information on its servers for 30 days, just in case you regret your decision. After the 30 days, though, you’re good to go.
Thankfully LinkedIn makes the process pretty simple too; just look up into the top, right-hand corner of the page and click, “Privacy & Settings” as it appears on the drop-down menu. From there, select Account > Close Your Account. At this point, you’ll need to answer a quick question about why you’re deciding to leave (so that they can improve their services if many people leave for the same reason), and once you’re done you can pat yourself on the back.
It might take some time for search engines, like Google, Yahoo! and Bing to stop showing your information in searches as LinkedIn erases your data, but it doesn’t take too long before you’re purged for good.
It’s quite likely that you’re a Google+ member, even if you don’t know it, which is probably reason, in itself, to leave. The deletion process here is also the most complicated of the four.
If you use Gmail or Gcal, it’s important to note that you’re going to delete your Google+ account, not your emails or diary details, so don’t stress.
Getting rid of your public information only:
Firstly, sign into your Google+ account. Click on your name/email address in the top right-hand corner of the screen and select, Account Management > Delete profile and remove related Google+ features > Delete Google+ content. Doing that will erase your profile, your +1s, your Circles and other social-related stuff like that.
Getting rid of your Google+ account without losing Google Services:
Repeat the above, but now select “Delete your entire Google profile”, instead of “Delete Google+ content.” Whilst that may sound hellish serious, don’t worry. All of your Google services, like Gmail, Drive, Sheets, Adwords etc, will still work as they should. However, it will nuke your Google+ presence, and if you’ved linked your account to YouTube, you might experience a few issues because you’d also have just deleted your YouTube account.
To delete EVERYTHING associated with Google:
If you’re really sure that you want everything Google gone for good, and we mean “everything”, then this is what you need to do: Head over to your Google Account home screen, click “Close account and delete all services and info associated with it,” and say goodbye to every Google product or service you’ve ever known.
What about the traces on other sites?
Ok, now that you’ve blitzed the bigger guys, it’s time to snipe your smaller accounts. If you haven’t kept a long list of all of your internet activity (as we all do… pfft) and the passwords, usernames, and other login details you’ve ever used, then this process can take a very, very long time. Thankfully, there are tools available that can help you!
Account Killer maintains a huge database of more than 500 interactive websites, from Activision to Zattoo, and provides direct links that take you straight to each site’s Account Deletion page.
Just Delete Me provides a similar service to Account Killer but with an added extension for Chrome. JDM will light up whenever you browse a page that it recognises and, from there, it finds and displays the relevant links to the Account Deletion page.
Knowem simply digs into a heap of websites that you may well have forgotten about altogether and scans each for your information by performing a username search on more than 500 popular social sites. With that information, you can then follow up with each website and delete your page(s).
Precise Investigation is proud to offer clients an expansive range of expertise that can help to debunk fraud, protect your interests, expose lies and potentially save you thousands. Whether you’re in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart or any other Australian city, we’ve got a PI close by.
Call Precise Investigation today on 1300 856 011 for a professional, Private Investigation Service