We love the Internet, but it can also be a nightmare if you find pictures or sensitive information about yourself online.
You may have inadvertently added these yourself, or they may have been uploaded by an unscrupulous individual that didn't have your permission.
You may even find that somebody has created a false profile in your name or misused information about yourself or your family.
If you want to try to get information about yourself deleted from the web we recommend the following steps:
1. Contact the person who posted the information
If you know who posted the information, you can ask the person to remove the information directly. The person who posted the information most likely signed up to a service and has easy access access that particular website, and in most cases can remove the offending material instantly.
If that person claims they no longer have access to the website because they have forgotten the login details, tell them enter the email address they used to sign up and request a password reset.
I don't know who it is, what should I do?
The person who posted material about you online is most likely known to you, such as a friend, ex-friend, work colleague, or possibly even your neighbour. Though, it may just be a random person who came across pictures and information about yourself online and started posting it elsewhere.
If you don't know who it is look out for a username they have used to sign up to the site they have posted information about you. Most of the time people use the same username to sign up across multiple websites. Do a Google search on that particular username and see what other websites they are a member of and try contacting them through those particular sites.
2. Contact the Webmaster of the site
If you do not know who posted the information, then try to make contact with with the owner/s of that particular website. This also applies if you have entered the sensitive information yourself, but no longer have the login username, or password.
Most websites have a contact page and even an address, you can use to contact them. If there are no such details available, you can use a service such as WHOIS Search, where you can enter the web URL and retrieve the owners name and contact details. This is not always available as some website owners choose to have their details removed from the system.
If this fails, you can always try contacting the domain register they used, or the web hosting company. This information should be revealed through the WHOIS Search.
3. Contact and ask for advice from a public service
If this fails, you can get useful help from public services such as Citizens Advice. Citizens Advice will assist you the best they can, but can not guarantee the information they provide will help you remove information about yourself online.
4. Contact the police
If the information that somebody else has posted about you online is extremely serious and sensitive, then it would be a good idea to make contact with your local police station. Do not dial an emergency number as this is not an emergency. Either find the number of your local police station or visit them in person for advice.
5. Be quick!
The web is huge and information you or others have posted will quickly be seen and make its way to other sites. If you find information you feel is offensive or that you otherwise want to get rid of you should be quick. The faster you get the information removed, the less chance there is that it will emerge at a later date! If you have friends uploading pictures of you, or other information, then it is better to ask them to remove it immediately.
Some things will be impossible to remove. If you have posted a video which is very popular or an image that many find enjoyable, then it will probably spread across the World Wide Web and be available on hundreds if not thousands of websites. In such cases it will be virtually impossible to remove the information.
After low user engagement and the discovery of a software error, that potentially exposed the data of hundreds of thousands of its users, Google has decided to pull the plug on its social media platform.