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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

2 Responses to How to Delete Yourself from the Internet

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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