How to Withdraw from the Internet

hide online, disappear online

Image Credit: Elizabeth Lies /

The last decade’s social network euphoria has prompted many of us to ladle out personal information, which can be compromised and used against us. This may be the last thing you think about right now. However, as the euphoria subsides, privacy becomes a primary concern. We begin to realize that there is personal information we should not have posted, because it can cause us a lot of trouble if and when it falls into the wrong hands. Once you discover you do not want your personal information to show up online any more, you can take steps to mute your ‘fame’.

Cut down on social networks

Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc., make us want to share tons of personal information. It may include names, job positions, social status, pictures, avatars, etc. Therefore, your accounts should be the first meat for the grinder, if you are really concerned about your privacy.

If it is Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, they have options, which allow you to terminate your use of them. Select them and follow further instructions.

This is not only about social networks. We also share personal data when registering on other websites and forums. Some users have registered on dozens and even hundreds of resources, so they have trouble remembering them all. An average American user has over a hundred accounts and profiles per email address! Too much for human memory to handle, isn’t it? In this case, it is advisable to use a tool or service to track all your accounts and have them erased automatically.

Get them off your back

There is one thing you should be aware of: it will not disappear immediately from search engines. With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc., it may take weeks for your profile data to disappear completely. Well, as long as the process continues, you can use other ways to mask your footprints.

Request search engines to delete results, which refer to your personal data. For example, you can use Googles’s URL removal tool. Once a result is removed from the database, the search engine will never show it.

Type in your name in a search engine and look where it pops up. Bookmark places where it appears. Because you cannot delete the floating content immediately, all you can do now is contact the resource and ask them politely to remove the data as soon as possible. This can be your employer’s website with your name still dancing on it, your relative’s website or blog, where he or she has posted images with you, etc.

Image Credit: William Iven /

Because you cannot remove everything right away, and not all websites remove your data upon your request, do some cover-up tricks to distract users from your personal data. For example, you can create several profiles on same popular sites without posting any details on them except some general information, which cannot be compromised. Your ill-wishers will see nothing but blank pages and there will be nothing they can do about it.

If there are accounts you cannot delete, you can change them beyond recognition and trick visitors into thinking that you live in another city, have a different name, work at a different company, etc. use your creative potential!

Go the automated way!

As mentioned above, there are tools and services, which can help you deal with your accounts, if you have accumulated ton of them, in less than a few minutes. You know that not everything can be removed manually. Happily, there are websites, which can do the job for you. These services take great care about your privacy, and they use every chance to erase data instantly upon your request.

There you can find any network or resource, where you might have registered years ago, and the system will do the mop-up and give you the much-longed-for freedom and peace.