General Question

antimatter's avatar

How can I remove my foot print from the net?

Asked by antimatter (4269 points ) February 22nd, 2013

I am so freaked out! I typed in my name on Google search and found four hundred and twenty results of my name on the web. Even a blog comment of six years ago was one of the search results found! Should I worry or or feel violated?

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12 Answers

sinscriven's avatar

There’s not a whole lot you can do about it, unless you have access to all those old accounts and start deleting comments, posts, and everything else you’ve ever done. But even then that will only get you so far.

Treat everything you ever post anywhere online (including your fluther question) as permanent and public. Manage what you post and what identity you do it with, and don’t post anything that will bite you in the butt later. There’s no such thing as removing things from the internet so you have to make sure stuff you are embarassed or concerned about never gets on it in the first place

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I don’t think you can. I found 24,000 results under my name. I’m even on twitter. And I have never tweated or joined twitter.

blueiiznh's avatar

Changing your name is the only way I see it.

gambitking's avatar

First of all, it’s doubtful that all those results relate to you.

Secondly: Removing your web presence is pretty much impossible.

As sinscriven said, the closest you’ll ever get is by deleting old accounts and profiles you don’t want on the web anymore. But that’ll be only a tiny piece of your online footprint if you’re a normal active internet user.

Just remember, ANYTHING you put on the web is subject to remain there forever, and you won’t always know how it’s being used or where else it’s going.

For example, many Fluther users probably don’t know that every question they ask gets automatically blasted out on Fluther’s Twitter page. So even though they allow you the option to refrain from posting your question on your social profiles, Fluther will still post it on theirs, regardless of your choice.

burntbonez's avatar

There’s one place where my phone number is listed with a comment I made. Stupid me. I’m tempted to ask them to remove my entry from the newsgroup. But you’d have to know the phone number to find the page, and thus my name. You’d never find it through my name because my name is John Smith (metaphorically speaking).

Speaking of which, it’s amazing how many famous people have made porn.

antimatter's avatar

So what happens on the net stays on the net?
Well I am still freaked out and yes @gambitking all those results belongs to me…

muhammajelly's avatar

Even if you remove yourself from the web the government still maintains a list of where you go using your mobile. You are still on camera dozens of times per day and some of those tapes last longer than others. Some may last your lifetime as data prices decrease. Someone else will post you somehow and you won’t find it on google.com because it isn’t indexed. and so on and so forth

Don’t forget your call log is forever. Whoever you talk to will never go away. Who you were colocated with can be derived from other data.

wundayatta's avatar

Yes. It stays there forever. A permanent record.

But here’s a consolation. There is so much data out there, that it is very, very difficult to find things. Have you ever tried to find a past post on fluther? Nearly impossible. Well, I fail often, and my reason for living is to be able to search through data and find things.

So there is so much stuff, and not all of it is indexed, and what is indexed will probably not remain indexed. There is every chance that that which is you will fall out of view in a few years. Especially if you don’t add to it.

Gundark's avatar

If your internet is hardwood, then a mild vinegar solution should suffice for removing footprints. For laminate internets, use ammonia and water. On carpet internets, let it dry and just vacuum it up.

Tougher footprint stains may need professional internet cleaning. Such as http://www.reputationchanger.com, or http://reputation.com or http://internetreputation.com or http://removeyourname.com or http://reputationdefender.com.

I can’t vouch personally for any of these services, as I’ve never used them. Undoubtedly some of them are terrible,don’t work as advertised, or use high pressure sales techniques. Be wary.

However, some may be legit. The Wall Street Journal has a recent article about how they work that you may find interesting if you choose to investigate these services.

phaedryx's avatar

@antimatter the best you can do is actively promote the results you want so that the other results are pushed down in search priority.

I’d recommend registering yourname.com, starting a blog that refers to the results you want people to see.

glacial's avatar

I agree with @phaedryx. The best thing to do is to be proactive: don’t associate your real name with anything you do online that you don’t want everyone to be able to see. Then choose the things you do want people to associate you with, and promote those.

The good thing about the internet is that everyone assumes there are at least a hundred people out there with the same name. So hopefully, it will be harder and harder to be certain that older entries are about @antimatter the person, even if they are about @antimatter the name (insert your real name there… you get what I mean). As you promote specific entries that are obviously connected to you, they will be the ones people actually pay any attention to.

antimatter's avatar

@phaedryx and @glacial, I think you gave me an idea, I am going to start a blog and see where will that end up.

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