Disappearing from the internet is not an easy process. If you were searching for a way to delete your footprint from the World Wide Web then here are some guidelines that will come handy.
First thing first, perhaps you can never pull out yourself from the internet. Yet a few steps can definitely help you to achieve this to a great extent. Please be informed that, doing so may reduce your ability to communicate with others online. Have you decided about it? Are you ready? Okay, let’s start.
1. Deactivate or Delete your Web Accounts
Your accounts with several social networking sites, shopping portals and other web services are the doors to tones of your personal information. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ are some major social media sites that are enriched with your data. Shopping services like Amazon, eBay, Gap and others also contain user footprint. Web services may include OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive etc. which could be another gateway to your information.
So, to disappear from those services, visit the specific site and go to the account settings page. Look for any option to either close, deactivate or remove your account. It may also be found under the Privacy or Security (or something similar) section.
In case you are facing difficulty to find such an option in your online account, use search engines (probably Google, Bing or Yahoo?) to get “How to delete” related articles regarding a particular service.
At the end of the day, if you are still unable to delete an account, try other ways like changing the personal information provided on those sites. It can be done by shortening the detailed information, putting random data or even fake info.
There are many third party websites that offer assistance in deleting online accounts. You can also use those sites to delete your web accounts. Two of such service providers are Just Delete Me and Abine’s DeleteMe.
2. Remove your Track from Data Collector Sites
There are plenty of sites those collect your data mostly to sell products. Some of them are Crunchbase, Spokeo, PeopleFinder etc.
You can visit these sites and deal with them one by one. But problem is, this procedure is lengthy and sometimes it may require you to submit physical paperwork or sending faxes.
Don’t worry, though. I’ve already mentioned services, say DeleteMe which offers paid membership that can do all those monotonous tasks for you at about $130/year. A one-year membership means the service will not only remove your previous online footsteps, but also check back for future ones.
3. Delete your Data Directly
Check your phone company whether they’ve listed your number online and make sure that it is removed if they did enlist.
You can remove your old blog posts and forum profiles. Some communities don’t permit users to delete posts. In that situation, contact with the relevant site authority. See the site’s About Us or Contact Us pages to find the right person to communicate regarding this matter.
If the concerned site offers post-editing but no trashing, then utilize the Edit button found with your post. I mean, edit the content of the post in such a way that won’t reveal your information anymore.
4. Remove Search Engine Results
Probably you’ve heard about a heavily discussed topic- Right to be forgotten. Mainly it deals with people’s desire to be overlooked by search engines. That means, a user can request search providers to pull out pages from their search result listings.
Why should you use this? For example, someone has published a blog post containing sensitive info (e.g. social security number, phone number etc.) about you. You may want the post to be removed. But it can’t be achieved unless the author/site authority removes the piece. And it may not happen at all.
In this case, you can submit a request to search providers to have it detached from search results.
5. Close your Email Accounts
Well, it may sound hard. But if you really want to disappear from the internet, you need to deactivate or remove your email addresses as well.
Sign in to each of your email accounts and find the proper option to close or delete the account. Some email providers will keep your account open for a specific amount of time that means you can reactivate them if you want. At least one email address is needed to complete the all steps described above. So just ensure that you have this one alive.
As I’ve uttered earlier, please accept that you might not be able to delete everything about you on the internet. So keep it in mind and be patient while going through the whole procedure. Thank you.