Delete, delete, delete should be your mantra on social media

Lifestyle

Delete, delete, delete should be your mantra on social media

Be aware of what gets left lingering on your platforms

Matthew Field

It seems like hardly a week goes by without another social media meltdown as a choice quote or unsavoury remark from a celebrity uttered years ago resurfaces.
James Gunn, director of Guardians of the Galaxy, was fired last week for a series of tweets he posted a decade ago relating to rape and paedophilia. Just days earlier, Josh Hader, a 24-year-old Milwaukee Brewers pitcher, was forced to apologise after old racist, homophobic and sexist tweets from his account resurfaced.While most of us have never posted such career-ending comments, our old tweets and images can still come back to haunt us. Whether it’s embarrassing posts from the first days of social media, photos of a Christmas party gone too far, old blogs, videos or more, it is important to keep your social media profiles tidy.
So if you want to avoid the embarrassment of re-living past errors online, here are seven tips for getting started:
Search yourself
Do a quick Google search on yourself to see what pages and profiles are associated with your name. While you may think your social media presence is relatively private, it can be revealing to see just what information could be gleaned by an employer with a quick scan for your profile.
Check your privacy settings on social media sites
The recent data scandals surrounding Facebook have caused many users to think more carefully about their social media profiles. Most social media websites like Facebook and Twitter have means to limit what you send out to only select friends or followers, but these can be hard to use and often are not turned on automatically.For Facebook, an important setting is to limit what posts you share from your profile. This can be found in Settings -> Privacy, then your activity. From here you can change who can see current and future posts and who can access your past posts. These can then be set to friends only, for example. 
Another tool to help you clean up your Facebook is with Timeline Review. It lets you first authorise what posts you share on your Facebook Timeline, even if they are added by a friend. Given that your Facebook page is often one of the first things people see, this can be an easy way to limit what you want to post.On Twitter it is possible to set your settings to private. Click on your profile and then go to Privacy and Safety. This will allow you to Protect Your Tweets, a setting which will only share your Tweets with users you pre-approve.
Delete and clean up old posts
It can take a while to truly tidy up your social media, but it is probably worth the hassle if you are going for a new job. On Facebook you can see your entire timeline by downloading your data from Facebook. How to do that is explained here. This will allow you to see every message you have ever sent or picture you have uploaded. If there is anything you don’t like the look of, you can go back and delete it, or you can delete your profile entirely. 
This is, unfortunately, also the case for any other social network you are on. Is your Instagram full of embarrassing old snaps or do you have an old Wordpress blog? It might be safer to just delete them than fiddle with your settings to private.
With Twitter there are ways you can search your profile for incriminating tweets. Websites like SnapBird make it easier to do a complete scan of your profile. In this way you can search through all your old tweets for words or phrases and remove them. Alternatively you can use a computer program to delete older posts.
In one recent incident, Disney director James Gunn was caught making rape jokes on Twitter. While the remarks were tasteless and extreme, they were made between 2008 and 2011. On social media, mud sticks.Unlike, unfriend and unfollow
Just who do you follow on Twitter? What about that questionable page you liked back in 2010? Has one of your friends gone off the rails and started spouting views you disagree with?
It can be good practice to do an audit of just what you have liked, followed, or joined on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or others. On Facebook this could be used to build up a profile against you. For instance UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was recently found to be a member of a private Facebook group that posted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, resulting in several embarrassing stories.
On Facebook go to your profile and click Update Info to the main hub of your profile. On Twitter, you can click on your profile to find accounts you follow or tweets you have liked. On Instagram you can tap the settings tab and click on Posts You've Liked to review your likes. There are also tools such as InstaClean which let you delete posts en masse from Instagram.Watch what you say on WhatsApp and Slack
There is not a lot you can do if people decide to screen shot or store what you say on the Internet. But that means you should still be extra cautious of what messages you send even on apps you think are private or among friends.
Take WhatsApp. The encrypted social messaging app is largely considered to be private, but in multiple cases WhatsApp group chats have found themselves published online, causing university students to lose their job placements over their unpopular remarks. 
Other apps like Slack, a workplace messaging service, can also potentially be accessed by your company or after you leave, so you will want to always make sure your posts remain professional.Right to be forgotten
If there is a page on the Internet that has archived a story about you, whether it’s a blog or even a newspaper story, it is possible to appeal for the right to be forgotten. On Google you can make a request to have a page about you deleted. Google will have to balance the right to privacy against the public interest. 
Deactivate your old social media profiles
Leaving a trail of unused online profiles around the Internet is an easy way to reveal your old self online. If there are any social networks you signed up for and left live it is probably time to clear them out. Have an old Pinterest profile you never post on? Delete it. Fallen out of love with Twitter? Destroy your profile.
Dele Alli for instance, would likely want to forget an old Myspace image that has resurfaced recently showing the young England footballer taking a selfie in a bathroom while wearing an interesting choice of sunglasses.Not only will this give you peace of mind, leaving your personal details on all these old sites could make you more vulnerable.
- © The Daily Telegraph

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