Delete your digital footprint

How to exit from the internet, including social media.
 
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01.Deleting your digital presence

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If it feels like your digital life is overtaking your real life, now could be the time to start extracting yourself from the web. 

You can go through sites one by one and delete your account, but if you don't like the idea of this time-consuming job, there are services that can help you delete your digital presence.

It’s easy enough to start taking yourself off popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. See the next page for instructions to delete your Facebook and other social media accounts.

There might also come a time when you need to decide what to do with a loved one's digital life or make arrangements for how you want your own e-life handled after you're gone. See the next page for websites to help with creating an e-will.

If you want to leave the web altogether, however, you can’t guarantee that every bit of your e-life is removed. That’s because Google, the Internet Archive and other places are storing copies of websites. But it is possible to remove most traces of you online.

Where to start: tips for deleting your digital footprint

• Start with an audit and list every site you’ve registered with or joined.
• Close down any old or unwanted blogs or personal sites.
• Unsubscribe from mailing lists.
• Close old webmail accounts.
• Remove yourself from unused sites, including unis, gaming and network.
• Remove yourself from any forums, chat sites or member websites.
• Delete photo albums from sites such as Flickr.
• Do an audit of sites you no longer use (shopping, banking, telcos) and request removal.
• Ask friends to remove photos, posts or mentions of you.
• Remove your internet history, cache and cookies from internet-connected devices.

Delete your web accounts

There are sites that give you links to account-delete settings for Groupon, Soundcloud, Yahoo, Evernote – the list goes on:

  • AccountKiller.com rates how easy or difficult it is to remove your details from the site and has links to those sites’ account-deleting pages.
  •  justdelete.me rates the removal process for sites from easy to impossible, and has a short description of the process and a link to the delete tool.
  •  knowem.com will search for your username across 500 different sites, including Tumblr, YouTube and Etsy, and remind you about long-forgotten sites you might have registered with. You can search different usernames if you use more than one.

Nothing’s forgotten on the net

The Internet Archive is an ongoing project to build a digital collection of websites, as well as text, images, audio, video and software, to prevent it being “lost”. The Way Back Machine site, which is linked to the Internet Archive, shows you previous versions of websites. Check out what the CHOICE website looked like on 6 October 2001 as recorded by the Way Back Machine.
 
 

 

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