Remove Embarrassing Web Content

Drunk posting. Twenty years ago, no one would have known what that meant. Now, we all know. Just as we know Drunk Dialing and all the other ill-considered actions of normally intelligent people.

If you've ever posted something to Twitter, Facebook, in a blog, or anywhere on the Internet that you wish you could take back, well, you can. Mostly.

Sure, there are companies that will help you remove compromising content on the Internet before it can come back to haunt you in your career or your personal life, but that can be costly. There are also things you can do yourself.

1. Twitter. Read this from the Twitter Help Center that gives some common sense advice about tweeting along with steps to take if you shared something you shouldn't have or if someone else did.

2. Facebook. Their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities says that any info you upload remains your property. Posting, liking, and the other interactions you may do just gives them a revocable license to display the data. Their license ends when you delete the data. The same pretty much holds true for blogging platforms. The Delete Key is your friend.

3. Google. Their page, Keeping Personal Information Out Of Google, again gives common sense advice and steps to take if you need something removed.

4. Yahoo and other search engines have similar forms to remove content. Just do a search for them.

Uh Oh

However, there's one thing you need to be aware of. There is a Wayback Machine that can be used by those in the know to research and find web pages, photos, etc. from years ago. Unlike Rocky and Bullwinkle's Wayback Machine, this one won't take you physically back in time, but it will bring forth embarrassing content you sought to remove.

The Wayback Machine, and it's really called that, is the Internet Archive, a non-profit digital library. Its lofty mission is "universal access to all knowledge" and that means archived editions of old web pages, music, images, and public domain books. In October of this year, they announced that they had 10 petabytes of cultural material. That's 10 with 15 zeroes behind it.

This is when you have to hope that you're lucky enough that the embarrassing picture you put on a Facebook page when you were drunk beyond belief or that blog your wrote about the guy who did you wrong didn't get archived.

Takeaway Truth

Best practice ever? Never post anything online that you wouldn't want to see plastered all over the front page of the New York Times so ask yourself, would you care if your mother, father, pastor, or employer read that Tweet, blog, or comment.

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