How to Remove Your Profile From Sites You No Longer Use

Q: I recently came across some profiles online that I had set up years ago and promptly forgotten about. I couldn't figure out how to delete them and now I'm worried that my private information could get into the wrong hands. Any advice?

Thumbnail image for AccountKiller-Post.jpgA: With nearly 700 million users, Facebook is often the go-to example for all-things tech. Here it's both a convenient and fitting one. Let's say the massive social network changes its privacy policy (again) and this time, you decide, it has gone too far. You want out. You want to leave. You could just stop visiting, never sign in again. But that's not going to remove you from the servers where Facebook stores all of your pictures, status updates and private information. To do that you have to completely delete your account. Because websites, Facebook included, often make it difficult to remove yourself from their control, it could take a while to find the right page and instructions before you're confident that the deletion process has been completed.

AccountKiller makes things a lot easier. The website collects links and instruction to make removing yourself from one of dozens of different websites simple. Remember that old Hotmail account you no longer sign in to? How about the Last.fm profile you created just so you could try out the service -- and then promptly forgot about? Classmates, Hulu, Digg, BlackPlanet, Bitly, Alexa, Answerbag? AccountKiller has you covered. There are some websites and services, like iTunes, About.com and MyHeritage, that make it nearly impossible to leave. AccountKiller has blacklisted those services, but the website still provides instructions on how to best disable your account and keep your private information just that: private.

Tools mentioned in this entry:

More questions? View the complete Toolkit archive.

Image: AccountKiller.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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