Let us treat you to a modern day tale: someone Googles your name and something embarrassing from your past shows up in the search results. Sound familiar? Maybe it’s a comment you made somewhere when you were 15, your old MySpace account (don’t remind us), or something more serious that could truly damage your reputation or put you at risk for identity theft. Not to worry, you can still save face. Here’s how to stop certain results from coming up when your name is Googled:
Google yourself: Carefully search through every result that comes up in each different tab (Web, Images, Video, etc) and target what you want to remove from the search. Sometimes a nasty comment you posted on a Youtube video will come back to haunt you as the first result on the video search. If your Google account is linked with your Youtube account, all you have to do is remove the comment. Otherwise, retrieve your login information, sign into that old account and remove the comment.
Facebook: If you don’t want your Facebook page to show up when you’re searched, it’s extremely easy to hide it without deactivating your account. Simply go into your privacy settings, and turn off the feature that asks “Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?” If you want to be extra sure that it won’t show up, change your username that shows up on the address bar, which is oftentimes set by default as your first and last name.
Old Accounts: Don’t worry about your old Myspace account: they went ahead and did the work for you. With Myspace’s rebranding, all of the accounts that were under the “Classic” Myspace have been erased. Your angsty teenage blog posts are gone forever (which can definitely be a good thing). If you have any other accounts still showing up, try accessing that account by retrieving your login information. Once you’re in the account, you can delete it. If you can’t remember your login information and have no way of retrieving it, simply contact the webmaster or customer service on the site and talk to someone about getting the account deleted.
Bad publicity: If someone posts an unflattering picture of you or writes something that would damage your reputation, you can send them a polite e-mail asking to remove the content. Do not make any legal threats, as that could make the situation worse. If the person or site still refuses to remove the content you can contact Google’s content removal page and submit a request to have a specific search result be removed. Although the content is still there, it won’t show up on Google. The only issue with this, however, is that it could still be visible on other search engines. But if the content is truly awful or gives out your personal information, you’ll go the extra mile to get it removed.
Don’t use your name: For future reference, keep the blogs or accounts that you want private under an alias. If you comment on videos or blogs, make sure that’s anonymous as well. 5 years down the road you could regret that one angry comment about an article you disagreed with.