TV host Jimmy Fallon recently had to issue an apology for making an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface in a skit for Saturday Night Live that aired twenty years ago. In the comedy sketch, the host of NBC’s The Tonight Show Jimmy Fallon is seen performing wearing brownface makeup. After the video resurfaced, Jimmy Fallon used Twitter to say his decision to wear blackface makeup was offensive, and there is no excuse for what he did two decades ago. And while celebrities can issue an apology and move on with their lives, regular folks may one day become targets of a witch hunt because of comments made on social media years ago. With so many digital prints left by people every day, it would not be a surprise if years from now people start judging others by their social media behavior and things that they might have liked in the past.
A comment or an endorsement you had vocally shared on social media 15 years ago may not necessarily support your current or future state of mind. And the same might one day be able to be used against you. We live in such a world that it is hard to guess what would be considered offensive in the near or far future. However, digital prints tend to stick around, so with just a Google search, almost anyone can see what you were up to a decade ago. The good news is that the notion that the past will always haunt you is not necessarily true. There are ways to delete your past social media behavior and be safe that others will not judge you based on what you’ve liked on Facebook. Here are a few places that anyone may want to revisit before applying for the next job or deciding to run for local elections.
Leaving comments under a video can easily pop up on Google. If you’ve enjoyed hunting when you were a teenager and have been vocal about it, twenty years from now, or even now, certain groups may decide to retaliate. The last thing you want is a negative review on your business Yelp page because someone saw YouTube comments they did not like. If you feel like revising your YouTube comments, you may want to take a look at your YouTube comment history https://www.youtube.com/feed/history/comment_history
The likes that you leave here and there may one day be used against you. If you’ve liked/disliked something that could be considered offensive twenty years from now, you and your loved ones may one day become a target because of your social media behavior. If you want to excel in the future, you may want to revisit your Activity Log on Facebook and work on revising the digital prints you’ve left on the platform. One day your ambitions young colleague who has been dreaming for your job for years may find something you said on social media that you wouldn’t be comfortable sharing with your boss.
There are countless numbers of people who have lost their jobs because they engaged with others on Twitter. People have involuntarily shared company secrets, have been very vocal into expressing unpopular political statements, and have been openly showing hatred towards their current job. Similar actions have stopped individuals from being successful for years as most employers conduct social media background checks on potential new hires. Perhaps now is the time to scroll down your timeline and decide if you want to keep all your old tweets. The same goes for other social media networking sites such as Instagram and LinkedIn.
Do a google search if you are unsure
Do you know why hackers have always been using Google to obtain information about potential victims? Because a Google search can end up giving them enough information to commit fraud – people share all sorts of stuff online, such as the mother’s name, pet’s name, birth city, etc. If you google your name and some of the results you see are not something you are proud of or are too revealing, you may want to start looking for ways to delete/deface the content.
What to do if the content is archived?
If you just realized that an old forum you participated in when you were young is no longer active but is still indexed on Google, you may want to work your way into your account and deface it. Often archived forums do not allow you to delete your entries, but you may still be able to change your personal information on your profile there. At the end of the day, all you want is for the content not to be associated with you.
The unwritten rule is that if you don’t feel comfortable shouting something through the window of your house, you should not put it on social media or online. The information that you share online could be used by hackers for identity theft or could be used by your employer as an excuse to get rid of you. While top-notch antivirus software can help you keep the hackers away, unfavorable content can have an impact on the future of you and your loved ones.