If it’s public, it really is public.
If you don’t delete it, it will continue to exist.
This is pretty straightforward. Even if you stop using a blog or a social media app, your content will continue to exist online unless you delete it. Many sites will even retain information for a set period of time after an account has been deleted. For instance, Facebook will keep a account’s information for 90 days after it has been deleted. After that period, the company will delete the information unless there are legal reasons not to.
If someone saves it, it won’t be deleted.
If you delete a post — or even the social media account you used to make the post — there is still a possibility of it existing on the Internet. People can either take a screenshot, take a photograph of the post/account. They may also use an app to save the information. Snapchat users, for example, often send content through the app, thinking that it’ll be deleted after the recipient opens it. However, users can save other users’ Snaps and allow them to live perpetually on the Internet.
What Can You Do?
The best precaution to take? Think before you post. Even with every possible protective filter, there is no guarantee that those who view your post have your best interests in mind. If you’re keeping a blog, make sure that you don’t reveal sensitive, personal and identifying information. Make sure your account settings are as private as possible. Also, don’t be afraid to Google yourself! This will show you what is publicly out there on the Internet — and what could come back to haunt you.
By Elizabeth Slatsky