Can You Scrub Away Your Digital Footprint?

Posted on April 10, 2008

Every social networking website you have used likely still retains the information you placed there even after you abandoned the website. For some the Friendster social network may be a website they used and abandoned years ago. Forbes explains.
You may have forgotten about Friendster, the once-booming social networking site that faded as American Web users flocked to MySpace and Facebook. But Friendster may not have forgotten about you.

It still remembers, for instance, that John Smith from Salisbury, Md., enjoys hobbies including "comic books" and "copulation." And any Google (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ) user can read a glowing testimonial written to Brooklynite Sam Brown, describing his habit of walking around his apartment drunk and naked, as well as his talent for using a certain part of his anatomy as a puppet.
The Forbes article called "How To Disappear Online" goes on to explain how to get information removed from Facebook and how information is not always easy to erase - especially if it wasn't created by you. There are also companies that will help you erase your personal data for a fee. Some companies also help to remove negative information. This process is sometimes called Googlewashing. This video from MSNBC explains how it is done. The video mentions some web services that claim to perform these services. They include Reputation Hawk, Defend My Name and ReputationDefender.com. One expert argues in the video clip that removing all negative information is not possible so it is better to counter the negative information by creating lots of positive information about yourself.

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