How to Delete Yourself from the Internet

Digital FootprintsYou can make yourself “disappear” from the Internet. But be forewarned: Most of the following tactics are irreversible.

This includes losing any marketing presence you’ve built up over the years that can bring you business, and it can also result in being unable to restart an eliminated account with the same name or e-mail address.

So before you begin the process of erasing your digital footprints, ask why you wish to disappear in the first place. Are you merely a private person and don’t want your personal information where the whole world can see? Or do you feel threatened in some way (e.g., cyberstalking)?

Re-evaluate your reasons before proceeding. After all, you can create multiple e-mail accounts, for instance, in which one is strictly for business and one is strictly for family. And when registering on any new social media sites or forum boards, you can use a pseudonym. Nevertheless, here are tips on removing your cyber existence.

1) Delete accounts

Systematically go through every account and delete. To nab every account you’ve ever created, since it’s possible you may not remember some, go through this list:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • StumbleUpon
  • Flickr
  • eBay, Amazon, Craigslist
  • PayPal
  • Support forums (medical, parenting, pet ownership, business, etc.)
  • Gaming sites
  • Content sites you’ve written for
  • Freelance job sites
  • The local online newspaper where you’re registered to post comments to articles

2) How to Delete Your Facebook Account

Go to Account Settings—Security—Deactivate account. This removes you from visibility, but the account remains just in case you change your mind. To eradicate the account altogether, go to Delete My Account and hit the blue button.

3) How to Delete Your Twitter Account

Go to Account Settings—Deactivate my account—Okay, fine, deactivate account. “Deactivate” means delete in this case, but you have a 30 day grace period to change your mind.

4) How to Delete Your LinkedIn Account

Go to Privacy & Settings—Account—Close your account.

5) How to Delete Your Google+ Account

To remove only your public information, click your name/e-mail address (upper right corner). Go to Account Management—Delete profile and remove related Google+ features—Delete Google+ content.

To remove the entire Google+ account, repeat the above, then hit Delete your entire Google profile. You’ll still be able to use, for instance, your e-mail (gmail), but to eradicate every molecule of Google+ (e.g., mail, calendar), go to your homepage and hit Close account and delete all services and info associated with it.

Mopping up Residue

With the big four gone, now go after smaller accounts. This includes the forum board you registered with 10 years ago for adult acne support but never posted anything. To aid in tracking everything down, use:

  • Account Killer – This tool provides direct links to every account deletion page.
  • Knowem – This tool does a username search on hundreds of social sites.

Then remove personal information from background check sites. This involves more complicated procedures.

Hide Your Digital Tracks by Using a VPN Service

If you want to continue to use the Internet, but protect your privacy, one of the best ways to surf the Internet anonymously is to use a VPN service. A VPN service will hide your IP address and also encrypt all your Internet communications, thereby prevent snoopers or anyone from tracking your online activities or intercepting your communications.

Learn more about Hotspot Shield VPN

Robert Siciliano on

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16 Responses to How to Delete Yourself from the Internet

  1. Marnie Tunay December 22, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    I don’t see a delete button for facebook, just a deactivate one. Can you please tell me where it is? I’ve tried writing to facebook support about this but they don’t answer. Thanks very much.

    • Steve December 31, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

      Try this website. It’s what I used. http://Www.deletefacebook.com. First change your password on your Facebook account so if you use any apps that log in with Facebook they won’t activate the account because even though you are deleting Facebook you still are in deactivation for 14 days prior. Then go to the site I suggested and login with new password and delete. Simple.

    • lgmckay January 28, 2015 at 6:13 am #

      Deactivate is the same as delete in the case of Facebook.

  2. Juanita Lomas January 13, 2014 at 11:01 pm #

    One of these sites, and I think it is LinkedIn (may be My space) requires you to pay to remove information that they posted because they said it was in other sites.
    First of all, no one asked them to “get” your info and now you are being required to pay to remove your own personal stuff? Plus, I personally have info that is totally incorrect on spokeo and I know of a black man also, that was indicated to be white. What a messed up place the internet is becoming.

    • Buster May 16, 2014 at 9:34 am #

      Instead of just deleting, edit your profile information to either blanks or Generic pointless information.
      ie Location: Home, State
      Occupation: Other
      Phone: 894-858-8873 <–random series of numbers

  3. Dana January 20, 2014 at 3:00 am #

    Twitter accounts really can’t be deleted. There are websites that have every tweet ever posted and all someone has to do is enter your Twitter handle and see every tweet you’ve made and Tweets made to your Twitter handle. You can select view All Time/Everything Tweets, Thirty Day, etc. They claim to erase your tweets, but the catch is, they delete only your tweets and not the conversation. So your Twitter handle still shows if someone asked you a questions, replied to your Tweets, RT’d a tweet posted by you, etc.

    There are also other sites that archive your tweets. Even if your account is deleted, if someone wants to be nosy, they can go to theses sites and pull up every one of your tweets ever posted. Not sure about the private accounts other than, tweets showing up in relation to someone tweeting you.

    I just found this information out a few days ago as there is a young lady who has gone missing, and so called Web Detectives have pulled up all 20,000 of her DELETED tweets AND deleted accounts. They discovered that the missing young lady had several other Twitter accounts which she deleted a year ago.

    • George January 24, 2014 at 10:35 pm #

      I’m sorry to tell everyone… You can never turn back the clock on the internet. Once it’s been posted, it will haunt you forever.

    • bobbyO August 21, 2014 at 6:59 am #

      The Library of Congress was donated access to the entire archive of public Tweets for preservation and research. You can delete anything you want, but it’s stored, and someone does have access to it.

  4. CJ January 26, 2014 at 5:13 am #

    When I had Fb, I posted a really bad picture of myself that a friend took merely because it looked like a bad “mug shot”. It was funny. What wasn’t funny was when I Googled myself out of curiosity and found myself on “Busted”. I contacted the site which told me they would remove it for $185.00. My question to them was what is more important, gaining $185.00 or paying out the rear in attorneys fees and restitution for slander?
    They removed my picture.

  5. ruben kaufman February 24, 2014 at 12:11 am #

    According to an article which appeared in the Guardian on Monday, Jan.14, 2008, by Tom Hodgkinson
    url=http://www.the guardian.com/technology/2008/jan/14/facebook,
    it is impossible to completely deleted one’s records from facebook. This is actually stated in the finest fineprint which nobody reads far on in the fineprint. Facebook keeps records of everything, so even if you think you’ve deleted yourself, you haven’t?

    Facebook’s privacy policy, from the Guardian article:

    Just for fun, try substituting the words ‘Big Brother’ whenever you read the word ‘Facebook’

    1 We will advertise at you

    “When you use Facebook, you may set up your personal profile, form relationships, send messages, perform searches and queries, form groups, set up events, add applications, and transmit information through various channels. We collect this information so that we can provide you the service and offer personalised features.”

    2 You can’t delete anything

    “When you update information, we usually keep a backup copy of the prior version for a reasonable period of time to enable reversion to the prior version of that information.”

    3 Anyone can glance at your intimate confessions

    “… we cannot and do not guarantee that user content you post on the site will not be viewed by unauthorised persons. We are not responsible for circumvention of any privacy settings or security measures contained on the site. You understand and acknowledge that, even after removal, copies of user content may remain viewable in cached and archived pages or if other users have copied or stored your user content.”

    4 Our marketing profile of you will be unbeatable

    “Facebook may also collect information about you from other sources, such as newspapers, blogs, instant messaging services, and other users of the Facebook service through the operation of the service (eg, photo tags) in order to provide you with more useful information and a more personalised experience.”

    5 Opting out doesn’t mean opting out

    “Facebook reserves the right to send you notices about your account even if you opt out of all voluntary email notifications.”

    6 The CIA may look at the stuff when they feel like it

    “By using Facebook, you are consenting to have your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States … We may be required to disclose user information pursuant to lawful requests, such as subpoenas or court orders, or in compliance with applicable laws. We do not reveal information until we have a good faith belief that an information request by law enforcement or private litigants meets applicable legal standards. Additionally, we may share account or other information when we believe it is necessary to comply with law, to protect our interests or property, to prevent fraud or other illegal activity perpetrated through the Facebook service or using the Facebook name, or to prevent imminent bodily harm. This may include sharing information with other companies, lawyers, agents or government agencies.”

  6. WrinkledMeatCurtain April 21, 2014 at 5:40 am #

    This is why I’ve never signed up for any of these “social networks”. I don’t have the need to tell people everything that’s going on in my life. I don’t understand why so many people are into this stuff.

  7. Miles April 25, 2014 at 7:45 am #

    Basically the internet was brought in to existence to irridicate the use of Private BBS’s (Bulletin Board Systems) that used Private Phonelines that required snoops, cops and other government agencies including government entities that most people never think of as being government — which are businesses called “corporations” which are protected at home and abroad by the United States Corporation Armed Forces. That being said… Darpa Net was created for military use by the University systems in several States of the Union and then was given over to Commercial use as a experiment to make money and to see just where would it go and changed the name to Internet. This was all in competition to the very fast growing BBS’s around the world. In order for the governments of the world to gain control over “Private Communications” of the BBS’s it needed a better way to create communication systems and free of charge in order to deceive the masses of humans around the world into using said system….voila…give the people the Internet and tell them it was theirs because they paid for it with their Tax Dollars. In fact, AT&T was the first big money maker from being able to put the full installation of the Internet into full swing. So for those who are naive of the purpose th e Internet creation — it does just exactly what it was intended to do — make watching communications “World Wide” and not call it “Spying” and thus not needing “Warrants” to get information on businesses, terrorists and the population of human animals from which these things are created from. I call them “Things” because if you are a “Human” you are the “Enemy” of “ANY” system built for the Human Experience here on Earth. Humans are the only animal on the Earth that kills, destroys, believes it is good to do atrocities and will fight wars killing whomever for the right to keep killing and destroying. With the growing Cities of Enemies of the Human Built Systems — there has to be a way evolved for keeping tabs on each individual dumb enough to put all their information on the “Communications Spy System” which is what the Wide World Internet is. It was never created for dumb little girls to receive protection from airing out their dirty laundry or for testerone driven punks who think they are the best of 7 billion animals calling themselves humans. In fact – it was created to keep an every spying eye on these problems along with routing out terrorists and other criminals that believe they can do evil and get away with it without paying a monetary price to the system overlords. Put your personal information on a Public System and technically you lose your Rights to Privacy. Mother Nature calls you stupid and you will pay her price…no matter how wrong you think it is for people to see you in your flesh, bone and raw brains — it was you that put yourself out in the wild for the beasts to eat. You live to be maybe 85 years old — you spend most of those trying to popular and important. The price that any animal pays when they put themselves out in the open tundra will be the vultures coming in for some dinner of your rotten spoils after the psycho wolves have killed you.Think about it — there has been close to 8 billion people that have died due to killing and destruction of other people since 3 thousand years ago. You are fooling yourself if you think anything has changed to make it go away. The world is a Killing Field where the Ph.D’s rule for the Bully Elite Families and Bankers. You own nothing — Not even your life.

  8. pedro May 10, 2014 at 5:03 am #

    heres a thought, dont sign up for any of this garbage in the first place.

  9. Mark May 18, 2014 at 8:18 am #

    The Wayback Machine. Archives almost everything on the web. I’ve been an IT professional since the original IBM XT. When the internet first became usable by the general public, I put up a small website to advertise my business. The Wayback Machine still has that site in it’s archives, even though the webhosting company [and their servers] that hosted it no longer exsists. The hosting company’s servers and my site went offline in 1998, Once it’s out there, it’s out there.

  10. offstage June 29, 2014 at 2:33 am #

    Everything you have ever put on the net is on stage behavior! I only wish everything on the internet was true, real and factual. It has lost its way. The Internet has become a convoluted assembly of great fictions and get rich want to bees with mostly ineptness sold as an over rated bill of goods. It is only a facsimile of reality. Back in the day it used to be a valued resource of knowledge disseminating from collegiate origins and scientific grandeur much like the more recently diluted Nobel lariats of our past. It is hard to find even trustworthy facts in this environment any more without serious sifting. Just remember that information overload works to mask until someone or some agenda decides to make you their target. The motives of the greatest users of the net no longer pride themselves on spreading useful knowledge of importance, but rather look for quick stats and an easy dollar using many unethical methods of deception and out right lies. These days the inept keepers of these data bases of “knowledge” appear to be exceptionally sophisticated when they can use limited data or opinion as destructive, extortive or intrusive tools. The best way to gain security is to unplug yourself from this virtual world and live in the reality of the sun, the blue sky and the green grass and to love the complexities of true reality and people rather than its virtual all caps fiction not the truth of anyone’s actual common flesh and blood self. Don’t be a statistical abnormally of someone’s paranoid fiction or subject to becoming the human capital of other’s malicious agendas. Go back to reality once in a while and quit living in the virtual world. It is so very refreshing I assure you. Use the Internet to gather information and quit adding trivial personal data that can only serve to undermine your own privacy and potentially your security. Stop giving away your selves. Demand that the Internet stand for accurate knowledge useful to all mankind and stop using it for frivolous opinions and a fictional platform of misguided self, id or ego that it is unable to recreate accurately as a whole. It is so demeaning to its greater purpose and usefulness to the greater good and yourself. The Internet is supposed to be a tool of knowledge and a place to exchange it for the growth and wellbeing of mankind. Period!

  11. ed June 29, 2014 at 9:23 am #

    I have been in InfoTech a long time even before the internet really existed in the public domain.The one thing that always occurred even in closed networks,was the collection of information.” gathered,updated,&archived”. All this info is still out there,on the net somewhere and you cannot get rid of it.There will always be an archive with it. However, you can try to control what info you put out there,so you are less vunerable. People just don’t give any thought to power of this media. It is a great tool, but learn to use it wisely.

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