Yes, it is possible to “disappear from the internet“, erasing all your information, traces and online presence. However, this is not a simple or quick task. You can also hire paid services to take care of this for you, which can also track and destroy data collected by companies you’ve never heard of.
Is it possible to “disappear from the internet”?
Yes, but it is not easy. You will need to follow a few steps, access forgotten services, and hit headlines with support industries. But if the intention is really to commit an “interneticide“, is something that will have to be done. Confirm some tips.
1. Learn to use Google
Google will be your biggest ally in this endeavor. Search your name for services you may remember using, and access them one by one and erase your traces.
If you live in Europe, you can still use the Right to be Forgotten, and require that Google, Bing and other search services erase all results related to you.
However, leave this step to the end.
2. Delete your social network accounts, websites and services
There is no single button for everything, you will need to visit the sites, one by one.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Telegram, Snapchat, LinkedIn and Messenger are the main ones, but there are many others. We can cite the networks for Steam games, PSN, Xbox Live and Nintendo Switch Online, accounts in music services like Spotify and Deezer, in smaller networks such as Untappd (for beer lovers), Pinterest, Foursquare/Swarm, Slack, and so on. Prioritize those that are indexed by Google.
It is also important to search for and destroy accounts in poorly remembered or forgotten services such as Ello, the Orkut, as well as services, sites and games that use data and permissions from other social networks, especially who use Facebook, Google and Twitter login. Search and delete all your accounts.
You will need to log into each of the sites and networks, access their settings, and verify that it is possible to delete all data permanently. If you have any questions, please contact support for these networks. You may need to send an email.
Some platforms, such as Facebook (and especially it) does not delete data permanently, and even has data from those who never had an account in the service, which has already been a cause for controversy; in this case, it may even be necessary to file a lawsuit to force social networks to erase information.
If this is the case, consult a lawyer who understands the subject.
3. Delete all your accounts in online stores
This is a slightly more complicated step: you will have to access all the online stores where you have already registered, no matter what type of purchase, and ask to have your profile deleted. Check your email and check which stores have sent you newsletter, order tracking emails or order status for you.
4. Make sure your data is not leaked
Sites such as HaveIBeenPwned and similar are useful for identifying if your data leaked on the internet, based on your email address used in social networks, online stores, forums, and so on. As long as you know how many emails you have, you’ll be able to more easily track all of the sites you’ve signed up for and delete.
5. Delete your online presence in forums and site comments
Services such as Disqus have tools for removing accounts, but for other services, such as forums (even the oldest ones) and mailing lists, you may need to locate the one responsible for each account and ask them to delete it.
One tip is to access the Whois, consult a website or forum, and identify those responsible for them, who can help you erase this information.
6. Delete your Google account, Microsoft, Apple and email accounts (all)
If you have already cleaned everything up here, it’s time to remove your accounts from essential platforms such as Apple (for iPhone accounts or Macs), Microsoft (Windows accounts) and Google, among other more comprehensive services. Each of these companies has a process for dealing with account removal, check them out.
Google even offers a feature where you can make a formal request to delete certain content, depending on the service (or everyone, if you wish).
For Europeans, the request to the Right to be Forgetten enters this phase; for everyone else, erasing traces in search engines may require legal action.
Also access the servers in your email accounts, and follow the steps in each of them to delete them permanently. Make sure you no longer need to access them.
Consider using paid services
For those who do not want to have a lot of work to get away from the internet, and have the money to invest in this venture, a tip is to hire specialized companies, such as DeleteMe, which offers tracking and deletion services for all their traces.
Such companies also have the power to track and erase data collected by companies doing business with social networks, websites, and so on, in exchange for your information, and that you would never have access or contact in normal situations.
If you followed all these steps, there are high chances that you actually managed to disappear from the internet without any kind of online presence but also became unable to use any of the services, even the most basic and necessary.
You can, from here, create email accounts for minimal and essential interactions online, and use VPNs 100% of the time to mask your whole life from now on or kick the bucket and embrace life offline, with all its pros and cons.