Now you are probably saying, am wrong. You think to yourself, I posted something on Facebook and I deleted it. I uploaded a photo to Google Photos and I was able to delete it. I did this, and did that, and I was able to delete them.
What I will say in short is, do not let that delete button fool you. Posting something on the internet is kind of writing it with a permanent ink. I will explain now.
While posting something on the internet, there are basically 2 scenarios. One is, posting something that only you or selected people will see. The second scenario is posting something everyone will see. Regardless of the scenario, once your content has landed on the internet, you are not the only one with the copy. Let me elaborate on that.
Scenario One: Private Internet
Let me use emails to explain this scenario.
You turn on your internet connection, you fire up your email client and you draft a mail. You did not send it to anyone, you just drafted it and exit. Later you sign into your email client, and delete the draft. You even went to the Trash folder and delete from there. Now, has that draft been deleted from the internet? Probably not. Here is why.
All online service providers perform regular backup. They do this so that if anything were to go wrong with their service, they can restore their customers personal contents. Hence, their users do not need to be afraid of losing any of their content with them.
If before you deleted the draft, the email service provider has made a backup of it, they will only delete the copy of the draft that is in their current database, they will not delete the draft from the backup copy. Now, that is an extra copy of a draft you did not send. A draft that you did not even added a recipient to.
If, you now send the mail. It means, then person or persons you send the mail to, and their email service providers has a copy. That is copies of a mail that is supposed to be private.
This is in fact, the best scenario to describe how private you can get on the internet. Still, as you can see, you are not the only one with the copy of the content you have posted.
Let’s now look at the other scenario.
Scenario Two: Public Internet
When you post a public photo on a social media, and you have tens, hundreds, or even thousands of friends and followers, that is possibly thousands of copies of just that 1 photo or write-up you posted.
You might say, what I posted wasn’t that interesting, and it has not gotten any shares, saves, not even likes. Well, that might be true, but know that those metrics you are looking at does not count how many times the content has been screenshotted. Neither does it count how many times the content is shared to a third-party service.
For example, you might tweet about an upcoming party on Twitter, your friend might decide to share the invitation to your mutual friends on Facebook. Twitter will not tell you that your tweet has be retweeted, but it somehow, it has find it way to Facebook. And that are copies of your tweet you have no control over.
Your Friends are not the only ones Interested in You.
Once you have made a content you post on the internet public, those you intend to see it are not the only ones that will see it and make copies of it.
Search Engines (Google, Bing, etc.), NSA (or your country’s intelligence agencies), your sucker, internet Archive and several other data collection sites (such as Spokeo, PeopleFinder, etc.) will make their own copies in a jiffy, without your consent, even without your knowledge.
Once those services I have mentioned above and others make their copies, you cannot have them delete it from their servers. You might not even know, that they have it.
But I am not a Public Figure
Whether you are a public figure or not, it does not matter when it comes to absorbing public data in the internet. Their database has more than enough storage capacity, so adding your “none essential” public contents will not do them any harm as you may think.
In fact, they benefit from it, because most of the time, those data collection sites are known for selling the users data they have collected in bulk to other third-parties such as advertisers, and business tycoons who are seeking to know what people from a location is interested in so that they can know which business to set up. And that is me putting it politely.
Once you have posted something on the internet, using the delete function of the service provider you uploaded the content will only delete the current copy of the content you have control over.
The other copies made by your friends, data collection sites, and even the service provider backup system will still be there.
You have no control over them, hence you cannot delete them. Even if you can request that they delete them on your behalf, there is no law that will compel them to act according to your instructions.
What you should do.
As we have established the fact that anything posted on the internet has been duplicated, and that you have no control over the duplicates, this calls on your discretion.
Do not post anything that you will later wish you haven’t. Once you posted, it is out of your control. Do not let that delete button fool you.
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