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To permanently delete whatever unflattering piece of data showing up in a Google search, you need to go to the original source.


This means if you find an unflattering photo or an article defaming you, then you need to have it deleted from the host website, which may be a blog or a news site.

This requires talking to the webmaster or site owner. Reaching out to Google for help will not get it done. Once the original webmaster takes it down, Google and other search engines will gradually filter that information out of their search results.


According to their removal policies and guidelines, Google can remove images if they contain sensitive personal information that may lead to identity theft such as pictures of your signature, credit card numbers, or nude images posted by someone else.


If you want Google to remove an image or piece of information from the search results, then you will need to show just cause. Google even goes on to say that if the data you want them to remove does not fall within their removal policies, then you should contact the hosting website’s webmaster.


Most of the information or images many of us find unflattering online are on social networks because we voluntarily posted them. If you made a comment or posted an article on someone else’s website, then there is a good chance that you lost the rights to that content as soon as you hit send.


Most websites have strict ‘Terms of Use’ guidelines that ensure ownership of the said image, article, or video transfers to the webmaster once you post it.


Therefore, it is essential to carefully think about what you post online because if you want it taken down, you will have to talk to the individual webmasters. You will also have to come up with an excellent reason as to why they should grant your request to take it down.


A simple ‘I look fat in those jeans’ won’t cut it. Remember, these people are not obligated to take down that content. But if you ask nicely (sometimes you may have to pay money), they might consider it.


There are very few ventures that will test your patience in the face of so many rejections and non-responses as trying to take down an unflattering image or video online will. You have to keep speaking up and keep emailing webmasters if you want to see progress.


With that being said, here are the necessary steps to take if you want to see yourself, things, and photos permanently deleted from the internet.


The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a group of laws designed to give citizens of the European Union more control over the personal data websites (including social media platforms) collect and store about their users.


If you are in the EU (or the UK, even after Brexit), this is great news! These laws cover a lot, but the end result is that websites must:


  • Ensure information collected is done so legally

  • Ensure information is well protected from misuse (and assume responsibility for breaches if they did not do enough to prevent them)

  • Delete data upon request of individuals


As many sites are moving to become GDPR compliant, deleting yourself from the internet is getting easier. However, it is still a long, arduous process.


Looking for ways to delete an embarrassing or unflattering photo off of the internet? Or, maybe taking down photos of yourself is the first to going off-grid. Regardless of the reason, it can take a lot of work and may even be impossible, depending upon where the photo is or who posted it.

Read on for step by step instructions for deleting photos from the internet.


Many people run across images of themselves in the search engine and think they can just message Google to take down any offending photos or other data about you. Unfortuanalty, it isn’t that simple.


That is because Google doesn’t own those images, the people who own the sites that host your picture do. (Or at least they should, if they don’t have rights to the images they share you can likely get it taken down.


So, how do you get Google to take down a photo of you?


  • Click on the image in the Google search results to see what site hosts the image.

  • If you know or can find the site owner, ask them nicely to remove it. (We’ll go into more detail on how to ask later)

  • If you don’t know who owns the site, use ICANN WHOIS to find the site owner and ask them to remove it.

  • Ask Google to remove it from their search results.


Unless you have a solid case, in which case you can petition Google to take down content from their end, then your only other option is to ask nicely. You will need to be eloquent, respectful, and persistent. Make a compelling argument and remember they are doing you a favor by removing the content.


The following tips can help you compose an ask email”


  • Make the email short and precise. Start by telling them your name, who you are, and what you need them to do (My name is…and I’m contacting you regarding removing ‘x content’ from your website).

  • Ask if they are the right person to speak to and if they are not, request that they put you in touch with the right person.

  • Give them a comprehensive background on the kind of content you want to have removed and how it ended up online.

  • Tell them exactly why you need the content taken down. Humanize yourself so they empathize with you, but do not oversell or you risk coming off as unstable or a lawsuit risk. Some of the best reasons include: the content is untrue, it is harmful to your reputation, it makes it difficult for you to find employment, or it is emotionally traumatic to you and your family.

  • Thank them for their time and assure them that you appreciate the favor that they will be doing for you.

  • After that, all you can do is wait for their response.


If they say no (for what it is worth, many webmasters will say no) then try and understand their reasons for denying your request. Once you hear their side of things, present them with alternatives, such as:


  • Suggest they block the unwanted content from being indexed by Google and other search engines using the robots.txt file

  • Ask them to make your name anonymous if it’s not a picture or video with your full face in it

  • Offer to pay them


If you get turned down flat by one person, try someone else at the company. You can even go as high as the CEO. It is all about persistence.


It is always a good idea to formally transcribe this kind of email request even if you intend to speak to a real person. An email will give you something you can use as a reference or grounds for a lawsuit later. Remember to keep a clear record of all the people you speak with about your content and maintain proper management of the list.