Delete Your Personal Information from Spokeo

Delete Your Personal Information from Spokeo

January 4, 2011 2:52 am 13 comments

I’m usually pretty liberal when it comes to online privacy issues. I’ve even done the unthinkable and willingly lifted the privacy settings on my Facebook page so that everyone can see most of my content. But I do have a limit.

Spokeo.com is one of many sites popping up now that aggregate personal information from public social networking sites. You can search a person’s name and find photos, his/her age, address, phone number, relatives’ names, home value, salary, and much more. Granted, some of the information is behind a paywall, but the fee is minimal – just under $3 per month.

But don’t worry, I’m about to tell you how to remove your information. Hang in there.  First, though, to help myself feel less like a hypocrite, I need to explain why I think Spokeo is inappropriate while agreeing with the seemingly forced openness of recent Facebook rollouts.

On a social networking site that a user willfully joins, all of the content shared is done intentionally. Many argue that the content shared on a given site should only be accessible to the community approved by the user. Mark Zuckerberg disagrees. So do I. Instead of Facebook being a collection of millions of small communities that are blocked off from each other, it is much more powerful as a single community in which hundreds of millions of people participate. When everyone contributes to one large community it opens the door for many positive things, but just like sharing a room with multiple people, there will have to be some restructuring in the way of privacy. The solution is not to disband, but to rethink. Allowing members of the Facebook community access to your profile lets them participate in your debates, invite you to new things, introduce you to new people. Remember, in this community you still have the option to share only what you wish.

Spokeo, and sites like it, are taking advantage of the participants in online communities.  What does aggregating personal information without consent benefit anyone who doesn’t want to use it in a negative way? After all, the only people that would need to look for the information are those that aren’t already connected to the person they are stalking on Facebook or other social networking sites.

Let the information remain open within communities to the extent that the participants choose, and disallow third parties the option of aggregating that information without, in some way, contributing in a positive way to the community. I have to conclude that Spokeo, and the host of other “people search” sites,  adds no value to the internet.

Ok, rant over. Here’s how to delete your record from Spokeo.com:

  1. Search your name from the site’s homepage and navigate to the profile that matches your information.
  2. When the box pops up on the map, click the yellow button that says “See It All”
  3. Copy the URL of that page
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the “Privacy” link (or click here)
  5. Enter the URL, your email address, and the captcha
  6. Login to your email and click the link to confirm your email address
  7. Your data will be immediately removed.

Special thanks to Erin Gerber for passing on the information about how to remove my personal data.

13 Comments

  • I would like my privacy also my family’s privacy that shows up on spokeo.com

  • I tried searching myself and couldn’t find me! Guess that is what happens when you have all generic names?

    Flash back to the movie Wanted? lol.

  • AnnaZed

    I don’t much like the idea of giving them my email address which they don’t seem to already have. Is there a work-around for that?

  • Diane

    Did you confirm with Spokeo that they actually remove records? Numerous other websites have reported that you can send a request to Spokeo and all they do is use it to add your email address to their files and search that email address to get more info about you.

  • nvechols

    They do remove your details. However, the information is collected by bots rather than manually by humans which means your info is likely to show up again later. I would suggest checking back monthly to remove any information that reappears.

    Thanks for the comment!

  • Excellent – cheers!

  • Jesse Morin Jr

    Iam Jesse Morin. I live in riverdale, Ga. Iam a caucasian, not
    african american. Iam divorced. Please correct.
    Thank you.

    • nvechols

      Hi Jesse,

      Unfortunately, I have no association with Spokeo.com. You’ll need to follow the instructions in the blog post above to have your information removed.

      Thanks for stopping by though. Its nice to see a fellow a Georgian!

  • Karina

    Um… call me technologically challenged, but what is a ‘captcha’ and where do I find it on the spokeo site? Thanks for the article!

  • I just tried it and it worked…. my name showed up but when I clicked on it nothing came up

Leave a reply