If you think your online reputation is about as secure as it needs to be, consider this: Thanks to a bug at Facebook, founder Mark Zuckerberg's personal photos once were accidently made available for public view.
The bug was short-lived, but it helps illustrate that even those with a high degree of technical sophistication are vulnerable to the unplanned release of personal information. Add to that risk the possibility that someone will actually try to damage your reputation, or that information you'd rather keep private — say, an unfavorable review — will pop up prominently in Google search results.
There are ways to lessen the risk. Entrepreneurs have sprung up to help people manage their online reputations for a fee, but there are steps that anyone can take for little or no money. We talk to a reputation expert about what to do, as well as other questions that address our lives online.
LEARN MORE ABOUT ONLINE REPUTATIONS:
• 6 Steps To Managing Your Online Reputation
But there is plenty we can do ourselves without the help of outsiders. I talked to author Stradtman and to the heads of Reputation Changer, Big Blue Robot, Metal Rabbit Media and BrandYourself and pooled their wisdom to create the list below. What the advice comes down to: Create your own content and optimized profiles, to push offending content down to that proverbial third page in Google search results. (Susan Adams, Forbes)
• How to Commit Internet Suicide and Disappear from the Web Forever
Sick of horribly embarrassing things showing up when potential employers Google your name? Tired of everyone knowing you live in a garden level dungeon apartment? Perhaps you just don't like the fact the internet makes you easy to find. Thankfully, it's not that hard to delete yourself entirely. Here's how to do it. For mildly famous (or infamous) individuals, disappearing is essentially impossible, but for the average person it's surprisingly easy. It just depends on much info is already out there. (Lifehacker)
• The Information Welfare State
Here is a more elegant solution: We need a mandatory insurance scheme for online disasters. For what is an accidental disclosure of information if not an online disaster — a ferocious man-made information tsunami that can destroy one's reputation the way a real tsunami can destroy one's home? Thus, if Facebook fails to delete a photo that you asked it to delete years ago or if Google accidentally releases your entire address book — and, most importantly, if you can show that this has caused you some verifiable harm (e.g., a crazy ex-boyfriend started cyber-stalking you as a result) — you should be entitled to monetary compensation. (Future Tense/Slate)