Hiding and Deleting your personal online data
With all the info about us online it’s no surprise that people are asking more and more, How do I hide my information online or how do I delete my information off the internet? Hiding your information is easier than deleting it. While you can’t hide everything, you can set all of your accounts to private. This means that if any random person wants to follow you or friend you they have to make a request. You can then check them out and see who they are. If they seem legitimate, you can accept the request. If they seem shady, scary, spammy or scammy, you can reject the request. You can also always block or unfollow people on social media if their posts turn out to be annoying, weird, spammy or offensive. With all of your accounts set to private, your data will also not be visible to anyone with an account. If you don’t have your accounts set to private, anyone with a Facebook account, let’s say, can see everything you post, share, update and comment on. With a private setting, only friends or friends of friends can see your posts and other information. You can choose the level of privacy you want. That aside, which does not protect you from the social media companies themselves. They are saving your data, and you should be aware of that fact. Either you are comfortable with it or you are not, but when you sign up you sign a user agreement that gives any app, social media company and third party apps permission to use, sell and share your data. So, even with a private account, there’s that. It’s your call whether you want to keep the accounts open knowing this or not.
As far as deleting existing information, there are a few things you can do. If you know where the data is, you can request the removal. If you want to say, close a social media account, you can, but they will keep and store that information for all time, they will not delete it just because they deleted your account. It’s your digital fingerprint so to speak, and they have no desire to lose any data on you no matter how outdated it is. As ridicules as that sounds, it’s true, they hold onto to it like pack rats planning for the apocalypse. So, if you want to get rid of certain things like home addresses and phone numbers, you will have to do it manually by going in and deleting each post or writing over it. Then you can close your account. Usually, they store “versions” so it’s really a simple matter of going back to a previous version to get your undeleted posts, but if you’re serious about getting your info offline, you can have a professional data removal company get to the root of the problems for you. These companies have more information and are able to work with various websites to get your data offline and keep it off. This takes a lot of pressure off of you. Once its offline, you should be diligent about not adding more info back online. Keep your accounts closed or if you open new ones use an alias with a new email created just for that purpose. Don’t post personal information about you or your children and don’t share images that you don’t want shared with the world or sold to the highest bidder. Keep your data private and it won’t come back to haunt you.