A 3D-printed Facebook dislike button is seen in front of a displayed Twitter logo in this illustration taken October 25, 2017
A 3D-printed Facebook dislike button is seen in front of a displayed Twitter logo in this illustration taken October 25, 2017

How to delete your old Facebook and Twitter posts so they don't come back to haunt you

Recent events show that it’s worth putting the time and effort into cleaning up your online image

Aatif Sulleyman
Friday 24 November 2017 17:06
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Several well-known figures have been found to have posted offensive comments online in the past, and the same thing could easily happen to you.

Stormzy, Zoella, Josh Rivers and Jack Maynard have all been called out over recent weeks, and the cases have highlighted one of social media’s biggest pitfalls.

Many of us have been using sites and services like Facebook and Twitter for so long that our present-day values and beliefs might be very different to those we had when we first started using them.

People mature. We’ve all said things in the past that we’d be horrified about today. Unfortunately, the internet has a nasty habit of preserving everything we post online.

As recent events show, it’s worth putting the time and effort into cleaning up your online image.

Twitter’s Advanced Search feature lets you scan all of your old tweets for offensive or embarrassing language. It’s painstaking work, as you have to search for specific words and phrases, but it can help you find things you’d completely forgotten about.

As a much more drastic measure, you can delete all of your tweets using one of a number of services, such as Tweet Deleter, Tweet Delete and Twit Wipe.

Facebook, meanwhile, is a different beast. Everything about it is designed to get you to reveal as much personal information as possible, including status updates, messages, pictures and Likes.

As well as editing your About Me section, you can trawl through everything you’ve ever done on Facebook by visiting your profile and clicking Activity Log. There’s an extraordinary amount of information there, and it would be completely unrealistic to try to wade through all of it.

You can scroll down your Timeline quite quickly, however, and delete anything you feel could get you into trouble. It's also worth checking out your daily On this Day Facebook Memories notifications too, which can resurface anything you've missed.

A more efficient move is to lock your profile down by going to Settings and Privacy, and controlling who gets to see any of your posts.

Annoyingly, doing this has no effect on who’s able to see your past Facebook posts. Instead, on the Privacy page, you have to click on Limit Past Posts, select Limit Old Posts and hit Confirm on the pop-up.

You can make everything on your Timeline less accessible by going to Settings, Timeline and tagging and editing each section you want to tighten up.

Tag Review is also useful, preventing things other people try to tag you in from appearing on your profile without your approval. In Settings, go to Timeline and Tagging and enable Timeline review controls.

Once you think you’ve covered your tracks on those platforms, it’s time to revisit the social networks you no longer use, but may still be a member of, like Myspace and Bebo.

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