How to delete yourself from the internet

By Kirstin Buick
09 September 2013

After the Edward Snowden scandal in the US, and recent reports that even the SA government has asked Facebook to give them access to certain people’s info, it’s becoming more and more evident that your online presence is no longer private.

After the Edward Snowden scandal in the US, and recent reports that even the SA government has asked Facebook to give them access to certain people’s info, it’s becoming more and more evident that your online presence is no longer private.

The worst part? Even deleting all your online profiles probably won’t remove your information from the net. On certain sites, all your details – your address, phone numbers, pictures of your children – will remain floating in cyberspace, even after you hit that “delete account” button.

But there’s a site that could help – JustDelete.me. This simple site offers hundreds of links to help you remove your account from practically every web service you’ve ever signed up for. The links take users to the page that allows you to delete your profile or account from specific websites.

It even rates how easy it is to remove your profile from the site. The colour-coded system uses green for accounts that are easy to delete, yellow for sites that require some extra steps and red for those that can’t fully be deleted without contacting customer care services. Black signifies sites where profiles or accounts are impossible to delete.

Deleting your information off Google, Dropbox and eBay for example has been rated easy, while Adobe, Ask.fm and Craigslist are labelled “hard”. Scarily, certain sites – such as Netflix, Pinterest and YouTube (while they may allow you to deactivate your account) – are ranked impossible.

Popular social networks Twitter and Facebook are ranked green (easy) and yellow (medium) respectively.

JustDelete.me also allows users to submit websites to be added to its already extensive list.

The website was created by a developer from the UK, Robb Lewis. According to his blog, he became frustrated with sites that made it hard to remove information. “After seeing a few tweets about how difficult it can be to delete your Skype account and then hearing that Netflix flat-out won’t delete your details I decided to build JustDelete.me.”

-Kirstin Buick

Sources: huffingtonpost.com, justdelete.me, robblewis.me/just-delete-me

Image: Eric Messa on Flickr

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