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This Tool Can Help You Disappear from the Internet

Nov 26, 2016

Between election bile, fake news, and just plain exhaustion, we may be entering a down cycle for social media. If you’re interested in downsizing your online footprint, a tool called Deseat.me could be a huge help – though it’s not quite a one-shot “unplug me” app.

It works best (and maybe only) if you use Gmail as your primary email account. Log in to Deseat.me through Google, and the service will do a deep dive into your records and pull up every social media site, mailing list, and online store you’ve ever signed up for. You can quickly tag the services you’d like to delete or unsubscribe from.

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For a portion of them, Deseat.me will offer you direct links to the service’s unsubscribe page, though that functionality seems limited at this point.

But the exercise alone is edifying. Do you remember Klout? How about Hype Machine? Instapaper? I do, vaguely, because I used them all, once, years ago. But ever since those brief dalliances, my email address, and maybe more, have remained in those company’s databases. Then there are the mailing lists—oh, the endless, vaguely embarrassing mailing lists that I signed up for in exchange for some 20-page ebook on Twitter etiquette.

For more social media contrarianism, watch our video.

Now I can scrub them all. Which I probably should have done a long time ago.

But of course, some users may be looking for the real nuclear option—goodbye Facebook, goodbye Twitter, goodbye Linkedin and Instagram and Tumblr and Pinterest and Soundcloud. If so, you're a stronger person than me, but you'll probably end up happier for it.

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