Applying for a new job? Maybe you’re about to tie the knot! You may have several reasons for removing certain parts or all of your online presence from websites and search engines. ET shows you how:
Removing Individual Posts
You can remove individual status updates/comments by clicking the drop down arrow on the top right corner of your update and selecting delete. For photographs posted by you, open the image, click on Options and select “Delete This Photo”.
It becomes tougher when you want to delete a photo uploaded by someone else. In most cases, a friendly removal request to the uploader should work. If not, open the image, click options and select Remove/Report Tag. A pop-up box will guide you.
Delete The Account
By default, Facebook does not give you the option to delete your account completely. Instead, you can deactivate your account by going to Settings > Security. Deactivating the account hides you profile and prevents people from find you. However, if you choose to join back, your account will get reactivated when you login with the same username and password as before. To completely delete your Facebook account, you need to fill out an online form. Facebook gives you the option to download a copy of your info to your computer before you do this. Login to your Facebook account and open www. facebook.com/help/delete_account.
Sign in to Linkedin and from Account & Settings select Privacy & Settings. Scroll down and click on the Account section — here, on the right side, you will see the option to “Close your Account”. Linkedin will ask for a reason for the account closure request and once you submit a reason your account will be removed. Keep in mind that once you delete your Linkedin account, your entire profile, all your connections and all recommendations will be removed. Linkedin advises that your public profile which is visible via a search engine, might take a few days to disappear.
A Google account not only offers access to Gmail but various other services including maps, calendar, Google+, YouTube, Picasa and so on. Your Google account is also intricately linked with your Android phone (and it includes details of any apps you have purchased from the Play Store — deleting an account means that any paid apps will be forfeited. If you want to dowmload any of those paid apps again, you will have to pay again).
If you want to remove your account completely, head to your Google Account (http://accounts. google. com) and click on Data Tools. On this page, in the Account management section, you get option to delete just your Google+ profile, your entire Google account and other associated services/products. You could also choose to remove specific products. If you or someone else accidentally deletes your account, Google allows you to restore everything for a limited time (unspecified) after deletion.
If you go to www. twitter.com and sign in (as opposed to third-party apps or phones), you’ll see a delete button near each tweet you send. If you’re using third-party apps, browser extensions or add-ons to tweet, you may have to look for delete option. However, no matter where you tweet from, the delete button on twitter.com will remain.
Delete The Account
Removing a Twitter account is simple — head to www. twitter.com/settings/account and sign-in to your account. Scroll to the bottom and click on ‘Deactivate my Account’. On the page that opens, click on the Deactivate button. Keep in mind that Twitter first disables your account for 30 days. If you login to your account within 30 days, the account will be reactivated.
Search Engine Results
Tougher Than You Think
Removing search results are tricky. Search engines only point to content from various websites. This means that even if you manage to remove a search result, the content on the website will still remain — searchable by other search engines like GigaBlast or Volunia. Luckily, Google offers several help pages and tips on how to remove unwanted search results, photos and other personal information.
A Google section called ‘Manage your online reputation’ will guide you. In case of Bing, search for ‘Bing Content Removal Tool’ while Yahoo provides an online form for the same. According to comScore, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft remain the largest English search engines — so if you successfully manage to remove content from these three, most of your work is done.
Don’t hesitate to directly contact the search engines when you want to take down your copyright content, if you find your financial information (like credit card numbers) or content that personally defames you.
Apart from the popular ones, you may have also registered with several other websites over the years (for newsletters, online shopping or even to post a comment). Head to http://www.justdelete.me to instantly find out how hard it is to delete your account with them — green labels are the easiest, red are hard and the black labelled websites have accounts that cannot be deleted. One of the tools available on the site is a fake identity generator — especially useful for random websites that require all sorts of info like birthdate, address and user description.
At http://www.accountkiller.com, you can get to-the-point instructions on how to remove your account and/or public profile from many popular websites, blogs and networks. It’s all listed alphabetically but you can also search for the ones you want. In most cases, they also provide a direct link that provides more info on account deletion or a simple ‘Delete Account’ button. Everything is free and you don’t need to sign up with account killer either.