I have an old Facebook account that I want to get rid of. I posted some things that I shouldn't have posted, that might hurt my chances of getting a job in the future. I also heard of a Facebook app that lets you search the web for pictures of someone based on their Facebook profile pictures, and since it's conceivable that there might at some point be nude pictures of me on the web (among possibly other things), I don't want pictures of me on Facebook to serve as a launching point for such searches.

So I want to completely eradicate my Facebook. I know I'm not up against a team of forensic investigators or anything, just people Googling me, but I'm not familiar with what sorts of tools they have available. I was never that popular on Facebook, so I seriously doubt that anyone reposted anything I posted. My plan is to overwrite all of my posts with innocuous data and then delete each and every one of them individually before closing my account. As for my profile pictures, I will have to modify them before deleting them. The only way I can think of to do this is to crop them so my face is cropped out.

I need your help in defending myself against the snooping of others. Will my current plan be enough? What kinds of tools do they have? What are they capable of? Can they recover my profile pictures after I've deleted them, since they're still on the server? What is the best way to erase my presence from Facebook?

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    Don't you think you are over thinking this? You say you were not very popular so you are not worried about reposting. You don't expect anyone to use "forensic" investigation on you but yet you want to erase all traces that you were on facebook....and you want to prevent anyone from Googling you to see this info. Data is saved all over the place through backups and indexing. If you are not worried about those things that you mentioned, just delete the account. – Shadow Nov 28 '15 at 18:57
  • Read Facebook's Data Use Policy thoroughly, parsing all of the weasel words like "we may" or "including" very carefully. "Delete" (but not "deactivate") will delete your account after some period of time, but some information will remain, e.g., messages with others. Also, Facebook is likely to keep a shadow dossier on you as it does for other non-members, possibly including your facial recognition fingerprint (depending on your geography). But Facebook-internal data shouldn't typically be accessible to the general public. – pseudon Nov 28 '15 at 23:48
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    You may also want to consider re-creating a new Facebook account after the deletion time period has safely expired, and populating it with a more professional set of posts, or at least some chaff. This will provide highly-ranked search results that are more beneficial to you (presumably) than old copies of info from your previous account. – pseudon Nov 28 '15 at 23:51

Your method appears, on face value, to be very thorough and should cover against most low to mid level snooping (like that done by prospective employers) but it does have some very large holes that are not easily closed. The largest of these holes being that Facebook is not the only one who holds the sensitive data. There are certainly copies of everything you have posted out there somewhere, some, like Google's cache, relatively easy to remove (a letter or email to Google proving its your property and asking them to remove it is usually enough), and others impossible to remove with anything short of a court order.

The level of cleansing you have to do depends greatly on your prospective employer. McDonald's has significantly lower standards than a Government job, obviously. Judging by your question, it seems that those steps will be sufficient and you will not need to employ someone to ensure the data is not recoverable (services like this do exist). This being said, you never know what scrutiny you might come under in the future, so it is best to be as thorough as possible removing that type of material (material that should never have been in the internet to begin with).

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