Delete Doesn't Mean It's Gone

Best Practices (Part 7)

It's something we've all done. Something we see on the Internet, be it an email, a comment on a news article, a post on Facebook, sets us off and we reply, a little too quickly, with commentary that, later, upon reflection, seems a bit over the top. Now what?

You might think that we can simply delete that Facebook or Twitter post. But how many people saw it show up in their ticker or news feed before you had the change of heart and deleted it and did they share it? Or perhaps paraphrase you? You can't delete what others might quote or misquote.

Email? Just because you deleted it from your sent folder doesn't mean it's been deleted from the recipient's folder or your ISP's back-up files. Your IT guys have access to all of those files. If your boss requests your email from the last year, what might he or she find? You don't own that company email address. The company has every right to check on and track the comings and goings from your in and out boxes.

What about that old blog post? You deleted it, so it's gone...right? No, not necessarily. Did you know that Google can and does archive old pages from web sites that it has searched, spidered and listed? It does. It can show a screen capture of what a page looked like before it was deleted and that screen capture can stay up for quite some time.

But that embarrassing photo you posted on Facebook, it's gone as soon as you delete it, right? Sorry. Here's an article that might surprise you:

Facebook photos: Deleted today, still there tomorrow

Just because you hit DELETE doesn't mean the service provider, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Google+ has deleted the files from their company servers. So, those files could still be accessible via a direct link.

Deleted may, in some cases, mean a file is gone. But forgotten? Not necessarily. How many sets of eyes saw the text, photo or video before you chose to delete? Did they share it, paraphrase, take a screen capture? 


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