Removing myself from the internet

Video credit: How to delete yourself from Google Search – posted by ESET on YouTube



When a Georgian luger died during a practice run at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, footage of the crash posted to YouTube was immediately taken down by the site, but only to have it return repeatedly by those who had cached the material on their own computers. The footage was very upsetting, but when news agencies started hosting the images on their own sites, it was out forever.

Google has a procedure that allows users to request content to be removed. This process works similar to flagging a site, with the exception that it pertains to content posted independently of sharing sites. This will not, however, stop people from re-posting what has been cached onto other sites and blogs, as in the case above.  Beyond lobbying servers, building a positive Internet presence is the only option. Internet reputation companies cite that only 94% of searchers only look at the first page of results.  In lieu of removing content, their suggestion is to make sure that the best of yourself is in that top ten.

Another way to think about the difficulty to remove content is in terms of traditional book publishing. If a book with embarrassing photos and ‘tell all’ interviews was printed about you, how could you go about halting its publication? Chances are, unless you had an excellent lawyer, you couldn’t. Your only hope is to lobby the publisher or, in the case of the web, hire somebody to help.

Even high profile public figures such as Hollywood celebrities and politicians have photos on the Internet that they would like removed, but have found that taking them down is relatively impossible. For example, the Smoking Gun website keeps an up-to date gallery of celebrity mugshots, the exact type of image a person would want to disappear forever.


Think before you ink

The internet is full of tutorials that will teach you how to adjust privacy settings, remove caches, delete search history, disable robots, un-tag yourself in photos, outwit spyware, etc… but an eternity of searches will not find you a ‘delete button’ for things you do not want about yourself out there – hence the purpose of this project. The key is to build a positive on-line identity and to avoid unsavory content getting out there in the first place. If you need to delete something from the internet this Cnet article lists six great, not foolproof steps.


The Digital Tattoo Project encourages critical discussion on topics surrounding digital citizenship and online identity. There are no correct answers and every person will view these topics from a different perspective. Be sure to complete the previous sections before answering the questions.

  • What would you do if there was something on the internet about you that you did not like?
  • Have you ever experienced trying to remove something about yourself from the internet? What was the result?

3 responses to “Removing myself from the internet”

  1. Aziz Khaalid Syed

    i would remove that post from my profile or would ask the person who have posted about me to remove it. i would follow the safety for my account which will help in privacy.

  2. Curbi

    If the internet appears something I don’t like, I would contact the website to request removal. If this couldn’t work out, I might turn around and think about how I will prevent this happens again. If the content is a photo that was taken at a party I went to, I would reduce my time to go to the party. I haven’t tried to remove my things from the internet. I think to adapt this sense of awareness is essential for the future usage of the internet.

  3. rienamba

    Hi ,there could be more tips of protecting yourself(Mainly from what I have discovered from my personal experience) :
    1. Not using my full name when creating a username(for ex: rienamba) because it will show up on google when I type my full name.
    2. Having a separate email address for personal use and work/study might help. Some employers might use my email address to search up for my username. For example,when I search up for my personal email address on google, my personal liverjournal username appeared on the search engine.
    3. Protecting my privacy setting for social media does not mean that my personal information will be protected. My friend who doesn’t protect their account could tag me on posts or photos. For example, when I google my personal username, my twitter (protected) did not show up, but my friend’s twitter(unprotected) reply/retweets showed up on google.
    4.When I upload photos on twitter such as through twitpic, yfrog, Lockerz,= photos will be on public even if my twitter is private.

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