How to delete yourself from the internetNowadays we all have information about ourselves circulating on the internet. We are living in an information society, and every day we use dozens of online services for all sorts of situations: staying in contact with friends, ordering a pizza, fitness tracking, listening to music or reading the news. The amount of things we can do online is amazing. But what if you don’t want your personal information floating around online? In this article we tell you how to delete yourself from the internet, or at least attempt to.

Having your information online is not a bad thing per se. What is bad is when that information is used by others in an illicit way. More often than not nothing untoward will happen, but it is true that password theft occurs and users’ personal data is published, which    hackers find and use. Despite this, it’s unlikely that someone will find your information from among the other 20,000 customers, but of course it’s better to avoid these types of situations from happening in the first place.

Doxing, when your private information becomes public

In fact, this practice of obtaining people’s personal information and publishing it has a name: doxing. The truth is, you don’t need to be a particularly good detective to find information on someone. All you need to do is Google someone to find their information, social media profiles, and get the data you’re looking for.

For ordinary people this is not usually a problem, but for public figures it can be a real headache. So how can we avoid this from happening? The best solution is prevention, which means reducing the personal information we provide online to the minimum necessary. It’s also a good idea to review which platforms you don’t use any more. It is advisable to delete accounts you no longer use, as this reduces the amount of information which may become public. A good way to do this is to use JustDeleteMe.

Just Delete Me

JustDeleteMe is a website which contains information on how to delete your account from the best known web services so that you can identify the ones you no longer use and delete your account from them.

Some of the services listed on JustDeleteMe

Some of the services listed on JustDeleteMe

JustDeleteMe tells you how difficult it is to delete your profile from each website. It shows four levels of difficulty:

  • Easy: there is a simple process to delete your account.
  • Medium: These services require a few extra steps.
  • Difficult: you’ll have to contact customer service to delete your account.
  • Impossible: there is no way to delete the account.

Most of the time, deleting your account is easy. But you might be surprised to know how many websites don’t let you delete your profile, including YouTube, WordPress or Evernote.

On JustDeleteMe you can click “Show info” to see the steps to follow to delete your account from the selected service. Clicking on the name of the service will take you straight to the page where you can delete your data. If you’re especially worried about your online privacy, I recommend that you try the JustDeleteMe Chrome extension which lets you know how easy it is to delete your profile from the website you’re on. This means that you can make an informed decision when signing up to websites.

JustDeleteMe Chrome extension

JustDeleteMe Chrome extension

Although the best thing to do is look at JustDeleteMe, here is a summary of how to delete your profile on 10 of the most used web services.

10 specific cases

Facebook

  • Difficulty: medium.
  • Delete your Facebook account.
  • Deleting your account is easy, but some info like chats and group messages are conserved forever.

Twitter

  • Difficulty: easy.
  • Delete your Twitter.
  • Your account will be deactivated for 30 days in case you change your mind. After 30 days it will be eliminated permanently.

Gmail

Dropbox

Endomondo

  • Difficulty: easy.
  • Delete your Endomondo account.
  • Just go the the admin page and select “Close account”. Choose a reason and you’ll receive an email to confirm.

Flipboard

  • Difficulty: easy.
  • Delete your Flipboard account.
  • To delete your account, open the app on your smartphone and go to settings. Here, select “Edit profile > More settings > Delete account”. Enter your username and password to confirm.

PayPal

  • Difficulty: hard.
  • Click here to delete your PayPal account.
  • You’ll have to confirm your bank details to verify that you are the real account holder.

Snapchat

  • Difficulty: easy.
  • Delete your Snapchat.
  • All you need to delete your account is your username and password.

Spotify

Telegram

You now know how to delete yourself from some of the best known online services and where to get information on some of the lesser known ones. The question now is whether it is really necessary for us mere mortals to delete our data, as the possibility of someone using them against us is so remote that it might not be worth it. What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

Carlos Ávila is an information systems administrator with 10 years of experience in the field. Passionate about science and technology, he maintains his own blog which he uses to share his knowledge about the subject. He also collaborates with BQ, writing articles related to smartphones, tablets, networks and technology.