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Deleting yourself off the internet

Who is doing it and why?
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Posted at 4:15 AM, Oct 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-11 05:39:34-04

It sounds mysterious. Deleting yourself off social media and the internet.

"It’s a one way street," said Alan Crowetz, WPTV tech expert from InfoStream. "If you remove all this data, it’s not easy to put it back if you realize you made a mistake, so this is a big decision."

Crowetz said more and more people are cleaning up their online presence.

"There are two kids of people out there," he said. "(The) 'I don’t care what's out there' or 'I want to be 100 percent gone,' but there is a middle ground there: reputation management."

It's something those who plan to go into politics think about. Like the mayor of Greenacres, Joel Flores. He teaches kids in school about oversharing and overcasting.

"I have seen that in politics that you go out drinking one night and a friend takes a picture and that gets used against you later on in time," he said.

Crowetz said start by finding out what is out there.

"It’s a long process," he said.

Do Google searches and make lists of what sites you are on. Crowetz said people are turning to specific sites for help that give you shortcuts and rank things in difficulty of deleting off specific sites.

He said all of this can be done within reason.

"The government doesn’t play that way," said Crowetz. "If there is a right for them to keep that information on their website through a sheriff's office or some other means like that, they aren’t going to be letting you take it away."

You might be tempted to remove yourself completely from online and social media, but experts warn no trace of you at all is equally suspicious.

"If you are doing a search and can’t find anything people ask 'why can’t I find anything?'" he said. "There’s only one of two things, either A, they are trying to hide something or B, they are professional and legitimately trying to keep their profile low, but we can’t tell which one it is."

Crowetz said others take the laundry pile approach.

"You can bury it with more information," he said. "If you have a few bad things that pop up on the first few pages of Google, you just need to open up more social media accounts, so that eventually fades down to page 19, where no one ever finds it."