‘Delete Key’ – The Greatest Internet Myth Ever

In our growing years our parents taught us to be cautious while doing anything, whether it is while crossing the road, talking to a stranger, sharing or taking anything from strangers. Then why have we forgotten this thumb rule while using the almighty Internet? We post any and everything on social platforms and think if anything goes wrong Delete button is there. But do you know nothing get deleted from the Internet, all that we choose to upload, tweet, blog and post goes to an endless record. ‘Delete’ has altered to mute button to silent your speech.

delete key for internet

Nothing is permanent in this world but the same rule doesn’t apply everywhere. When we talk about online things then it’s quite the opposite. Anything that goes online and stays for more than 3 seconds lasts forever. Do you know websites store your data on their servers?

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When you delete an unwanted email from your inbox, what do you think happens? Does it get deleted? If your answer is Yes, then you are wrong. The mail does not gets deleted it only gets shifted from inbox to the trash folder. To remove it you need to empty the trash folder. But what is the guarantee that after double deletion the mail will be gone? There is no accurate answer to this question, this is a grey area. Double deleted, deleted or not deleted all items remains on the host server for an unspecified amount of time. Same is with social media posts, text messages and other online interactions.

The ‘Delete Key’ is Overrated

delete key

If you think simply hitting delete will keep your information safe, then you’re clearly delusional. If you think by deleting browsing history no one can track your digital footprints then you are wrong.  It’s very hard to erase anything that is recorded on the internet, one just needs to collect all scattered pieces and can track you. Moreover, even the disclaimers are meant to deceive and confuse you.

Virtual Footprints Live Forever

virtual footprint

Most of us agree to the terms and conditions without reading them This is not a god practice, it’s dangerous to accept anything without reading it. Do you know a simple click can take down your career, break your relationship and can ruin your life? You are not just agreeing to what they have written but you agree to share your life publicly. To make things clear we have gathered delete policies of various social platforms and online services, that you agree without reading. Let’s take a look at them:

  1. Facebook: the widely used social platform says, “as long as necessary to provide products and services to you and others.” Meaning it will save the data deleted or not forever, it will never be removed from its servers.
  2. Instagram: The photo sharing site owned by Facebook has the same ambiguous policy as its owner “a commercially reasonable time for backup, archival, and/or audit purposes.”
  3. Twitter:It doesn’t mention anything clearly about what happens to a deleted tweet, but says “search engines and other third parties may still retain copies of your public information, like your user profile information and public Tweets, even after you have deleted the information from the Twitter Services or deactivated your account.” This again states that we won’t let your data go anywhere.
  4. Snapchat: Is no different than the others it also does the same thing it says when you view a snap, it’s automatically deleted from servers “in most cases” and “can’t guarantee messages will be deleted within a specific time frame. Snaps may remain in backup for a limited period of time.”
  5. Gmail: Google’s Gmail also follows a similar policy like Facebook. Gmail “may not

Immediately delete residual copies from our active servers,” after you delete an email.

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Isn’t this all misleading and ambiguous? Are you freaked out after knowing this?

If yes, then stop assuming anything, read terms and conditions before accepting them.

How Dangerous Is The Treat?

Think before you speak is not something new to our ears but think before you post on social platform is what we must learn to do in the current age. Spoken words might be forgotten after you speak but not when it comes to online posts. Since it can be uploaded, transcribed for decades without any restriction. It’s like a haunted memory, you will always be connected to it. All that comes onto the web by you or which has you in it is in your name that’s it.

Countless people have lost their jobs, players have been disqualified due to these posts.

Recently 6 Mechanicsville, Va., Atlee junior league softball girls learned a lesson the hard way. There one Snapchat post in which they were posing bad-mannered hand gestures was the reason of getting their team disqualified.
virtual world

Img Source: ajc.com

Their snap caption: “watch out host.”

The Little League International Tournament Committee stated:

“After discovering a recent inappropriate social media post involving members of Atlee Little League’s Junior League Softball tournament team, the Little League International Tournament Committee has removed the Southeast Region from the 2017 Junior League Softball World Series for violation of Little League’s policies regarding unsportsmanlike conduct, inappropriate use of social media, and the high standard that Little League International holds for all its participants.”

The world has enough bad role models, we don’t need anymore.

In 2013 a PR consultant Justine Sacco lost job after a racist tweet. She tweeted a cheap joke: ‘Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!’ This posts immediately gained attention and she has to bear the consequences. Now she is the subject of Jon Ronson’s book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.

How can you forget Hillary Clinton’s email server debacle?

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A young woman lost her job before even starting it. She would have never thought a tweet can become reason for her being jobless.
Tweet by Cella:


The next morning her would be boss saw the message and fired her instantly as reply to the tweet.

robert wapple tweet

  • Rory Cullinan, former chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland, got fired few weeks after his daughter posted Snapchat pictures of their private messages on her Instagram account. Cullinan’s message: “Another friggin meeting.” While it was all innocent, but he lost his job.
  • Amy Pascal, one of Hollywood’s most powerful executives, also suffered because of this online thing. She had to resign from her post of Sony’s head movie division after her private emails were leaked. In those emails, she traded racists insensitive comments about Barack Obama.

These are few examples, there are many others who have suffered because of their carefree attitude and negligence. It’s not that you can’t speak your mind but think twice before you comment. A viral message can make you popular and can even take everything away. Before sending out something ask questions to yourself like what will be the after effect and how it can harm you or anyone. Put yourself in others shoe and try to imagine what they might go through because of your post. Never forget there is no Delete key.

Don’t post anything that may harm you or others. If you find something which is funny but offensive then don’t repost or share. You can’t hide anything from the Internet it has everything recorded. Nothing is private even if you opt for private settings. If you have to ask a question to yourself before posting anything then don’t post, use your intuition.

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