“You can log out any time you want, but you cannot leave”! That’s the World Wide Web for you, ladies and gentlemen. You might have got on the Internet by choice, but leaving as easily and just because you choose to, may not be as simple.
It is because World Wide Web is vast, and deleting every trace of yourself from every nook and corner can take months. However, it is still possible and for whatever reason, if you’ve decided to delete yourself from the Internet, here are eight things you can do to that affect:
1. Erase your personal websites on the Internet
Are you a blogger? Have you written articles and submitted them to different websites? Take your first step toward an Internet-free life with nuking them. Independent blogs, blogs within different websites, independent articles, forum posts, Yahoo! Groups and other groups – all must be erased entirety. Request webmasters to take down your articles published on their sites. In addition, remove yourself from your school or college Alma Mater sites.
2. Delete web service accounts
Typical web service accounts include those created for online shopping, news subscriptions, gaming and other online activities. Delete all accounts you have on e-commerce platforms, such as eBay and Amazon and those associated with web services, such as PayPal and Craigslist or apps like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. Delete accounts from online gaming platforms and sites like Netflix. Cancel all email subscriptions and, if you’re sure there’s no going back for you, delete your email accounts.
3. Erase yourself from social networks
Ah! Social Networks. You’re probably going to miss them after deleting yourself from the Internet. Luckily most networks allow you to archive personal data (yes, that includes those photos and videos you’re so fond of or the professional connections you don’t want to lose). Before deleting accounts on social networks for good, download the personal archives and save them in a hard disk for later reminiscing.
Now, let’s get to the actual deletion. Begin with the “big four” of social networking – Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn. It doesn’t matter even if you never created a Google Plus account.” You’ll still have to begin with the big four, because Google may have created one for you. Most people are in fact, unaware that they have a Google Plus account.
Twitter and LinkedIn allow you to erase your accounts easily. With Facebook, you’ll have to move past the “Deactivate” option to the actual “Delete My Account” page. You can delete all your Google profiles from the Google Plus account. Next, delete other networks you may be on – Instagram, Flickr, YouTube, Myspace, Stumble-Upon and the like.
4. Erase information from customer databases
Your phone company for one has most likely listed you online. Speak with your service provider to check for sure and then, have your details removed. Do the same with other customer databases of which you may be a part.
5. Erase information from data collection websites
Similarly, erase your information from websites that sneakily collect information about you and sell it to marketers or others. Websites that perform background checks, such as PeopleFinder alongside data-collection sites like Crunchbase and Spokeo most probably have stored plenty of information about you. Visit such websites, search for your name and have all information that comes as a result, deleted.
6. Have Google, Yahoo!, Bing and other search engines erase results about you
Conduct a search for your name and other variations of it, which others may use to find you online, on search giants Google, Yahoo! and Bing. On Google, you can use the site’s tool to remove URLs that mention your name. You can similarly remove/have removed, mentions of you on the results pages of different search engines.
Follow the same process on people-search engines, such as Yahoo! People Search, US Search, PeopleFinder and Acxiom. You may need to authenticate your identity in the real world, by submitting identification and other papers to the webmasters who request so.
7. Erase any remaining traces from the deep web using tools
Make use of erasing tools to remove any remaining traces of yourself from the web. Some of the niftiest ones include Account Killer (gives you direct links, which can be followed for deleting up to 500 different accounts), Knowem (looks for profiles in the “deep web” that you may have forgotten) and Just Delete Me (takes you to respective delete links). You can also look for professional deletion services, if you don’t want to run the tools or contact webmasters yourself.
8. Clear your computer
Finally, don’t forget to remove the Internet history, caches, cookies and other temporary files that may be stored in your laptop or desktop computer. You can do this by simply downloading and installing CCleaner. It’s the most popular freeware cleaner on the net.
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