The internet is useful and, in the modern world, essential. However, it can also be harmful. Some of the information about you online, whether true or false, can be damaging to your reputation. It may be old posts you made and now regret or someone out to get you by posting negative or false information.
You may start thinking of ways to delete yourself from the internet as a way to restore your reputation. It is possible to do damage control, but totally removing yourself is complicated. There’s no easy answer for how to do it. Your best bet is to work with a company that specializes in this kind of reputation management.
It’s Not Black and White
There is no simple answer to whether it’s possible to delete yourself from the internet. This is because there is no simple formula or guide to do it. You don’t have control over what people post on their sites.
What you do have control over is what you post on your own sites and social media. You can also work with a reputation management company to remove other material and generally change how people perceive you when searching your name.
Although it isn’t easy or straightforward, there are a lot of good reasons to take steps to remove traces of yourself from the internet:
- You’re job searching, and some sites post unflattering information about you
- Sites published false information about you or your business
- You have a small business with an online presence, and unfavorable online reviews are hurting it
- You simply don’t like the way you come off when searching for your name online
- Old or false information about you online is damaging to your relationships
- Someone is stalking or bullying you online
Manage Your Accounts
You’re not completely helpless when it comes to managing your online presence. You can control your own sites and personal accounts. Start by being thoughtful and careful about what you post. Avoid posting any content or comments on sites when emotions are running high or if you are not clear-headed. You’re likely to have regrets later.
Before posting anything, on a social media site, a comment thread, or your website, consider what you want people to see. Recognize everyone can see it, not just friends or family, and then craft your post or comment. When following others, only choose those that reflect who you want to be and your values.
For existing social media accounts, take steps to clean them up a little. Make them all private to limit who can see what you post. Delete or hide any older posts or comments that you regret or make you look bad. Delete or change photos that are inappropriate or unprofessional. Also, reevaluate your social handles, which you may have created years ago.
Remove Yourself from Common Sites
You may want to go one step further than merely cleaning up social media and posts. If you have a lot of information out there you don’t like, it may be easier to delete those accounts altogether. People tend to look to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for information, so start with those. Each site has its own procedure for removing your account. You’ll need to do some research and follow the steps.
If you own any websites, especially those you no longer maintain or keep active, consider deleting them too. Look for other sites where you added comments or posts, and delete those to remove more of your trail.
Look for Help
Removing yourself from the internet is at best a major challenge and, at worst, impossible. You can do some things on your own, but for the best results, enlist professional help. Look for the best company to remove personal information from the internet and let them take the reins.
The Other Option: De-indexing
When you run into roadblocks in trying to delete your online footprint, consider de-indexing. You can try it yourself, but again, it will be easier for a professional reputation management company to do. De-indexing removes content, images, videos, and other information from search results, usually through Google.
By de-indexing information, you won’t remove it from the internet—you’re just making it harder to find. De-indexing involves making a request to Google; you have every right to do this, though Google only takes action under limited circumstances.
Disappearing from The Internet Isn’t Easy
Whether you delete, manage, or de-index to change your online reputation, the process is complicated and lengthy. Your best chance of success is to work with a company with expertise in it. You can control some aspects on your own, but a complete reboot of your online identity requires professional help.