We hope you never decide to get off the internet because it is nice having you around here. However, if you have had it with data breaches, privacy invasion, and online scams, you might decide to pull the plug. Other people have had embarrassing moments that are preserved online and keep following them around. Whichever is the case, we have put together a guide to removing your traces from the internet.
Delete all your social media accounts
It is incredible how much of a trail we leave on social media. Many digital clues can lead you online, from posts about a dinner out to graduation photos to wedding photos. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., bring up your details when your name is searched on Google. So the first step to disappearing from the internet is to delete all your social media accounts.
After deleting your accounts on the popular social media platform, you have to do the same on older ones that are not so popular as well.
However, some social networks will let you set your accounts to private and block your details from showing up in Google searches. That way, it is possible to retain some of your accounts and be unsearchable. You must realize, though, that it is not a perfect solution.
Remove your search results
If you have articles written about you that are unflattering or embarrassing, there are steps you can take to block these from coming up when people search about you. This will involve you searching for yourself.
When the results return, take note of the sources and swing into action. You will contact each source directly and ask for the content to be brought down. It pays to be polite in such letters to increase your chances of success. If you succeed, the pages about you will eventually stop coming up during searches.
You can apply to Google too, but the search company does not have to reply to you except the content is defamatory, or your confidential information is on display. But there is no harm in trying.
Bury embarrassing content about you
Another tactic you can try is to push the embarrassing content under. This is done by creating profiles on popular social media like Twitter and Facebook with just your name and no other details. You can also create a website and fill it with keywords about your name but with no information about you.
As you might have guessed, you will still have to be on the internet, but you will direct anybody searching for you to a dead-end. Except there is a big prize involved, most people will move on to something else and leave you alone.
Go after background checks or criminal records
If you achieved fame in connection with a crime, your name might be preserved on websites where people carry out background checks, and your details can be pulled up easily.
To tackle this, go after popular public records websites and submit requests to be left out. Most of them will let you get off. If you are not sure you can handle this, some websites will do it for you, even on an ongoing basis, for a fee.
Delete forum usernames attached to your emails
If you have been joining forums with your name, unlink your usernames from your emails as much as possible because it is an easy way to unearth you. Apply to forum moderators to delete any post that identifies you personally.
Delete your details from online shops
The average modern internet user has shopped on Amazon, Walmart, or other online retail stores. These businesses hold a copious amount of your information, and you must not forget to delete traces to you from them.
Look for the options to deactivate, remove, or close your accounts. When you can’t delete, change the info to something fake or non-descriptive.
It is a big decision to go offline completely, and it could be a drastic last step. However, you must keep in mind that the steps described above require time before you can see their effect. You must also realize that there is no surefire or guaranteed way to get off the internet. But it is worth a try if it is absolutely necessary.