Recently Abine announced a new service called DeleteMe that states it will remove accounts and content from social networks, help users get control of personal information already made public, block junk mail, and more. They have a video introducing the service (embedded below.)
The service has potential, however people should also have realistic expectations. Note that you will also in most cases need to provide credentials to Abine to be able to fully delete accounts (curious then how they will delete accounts then that you might have forgotten about or don’t have the credentials to.)
The site explains who might use the service and why, and it does seem realistic to be able to accomplish some of the services outlined. I don’t know of too many people that are so busy they don’t have time to deactivate social networking accounts. I do however see the service being able to help find accounts you forgot about, uncover integration you might be unaware of, or just plain not knowing how to truly protect or delete an account (deleting a Facebook account for example.)
The video also mentions the service being a resource on privacy laws, methods for removing content from the internet, as well as a full refund offer should they not be able to “solve your problem.” This goes back to realistic expectations. It seems likely that in problematic cases it may be more than just turn-key work, be more costly, and therefore might be more import to define what “solved” means. Also, if you’re fresh out of school and hoping to wipe the slate clean before potential employers start checking up on you, remember that once data is shared it’s difficult to get back once it propagates.
In general the service seems to be better for protecting privacy and getting a handle on who has your information more than for addressing specific social networking content concerns. It also might be helpful at turning up information you might not have known about. And some of the services you could likely accomplish on your own, but if you’re not interested in doing it yourself, don’t know where to start, or have been unsuccessful in getting problems addressed in the past, DeleteMe might be worth a look.
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