Tired of ceaselessly connecting to your fellow man, woman, and child? Want to actually keep your private life… private? Deleting social media accounts is a good start, but is the data you gave them really gone?

The infographic above provides a quick look into the data deletion policies of some of the world’s most popular social media sites (i.e. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Each company appears ready to delete anything you posted to your piece of their site. However, anything you posted to someone else’s page, blog, or forum remains available for the world to see until the blog or page owner decides to remove it.

Deleting social media data: who owns the information?

Understand that the data you give out becomes the property of the person or company you gave it to. They don’t have to give it back because you’ve changed your mind about letting others use what you’ve given out.

Be aware that your information also gets pulled by data aggregation sites. These sites believe they’ve every right to collect and sell public information about you. Many of them will not remove your personal identifiable data without a court order or payment.

What can you do about it?

The social media sites listed appear to take reasonable action to remove your data from the Internet and their servers. This doesn’t prevent others from spreading the information you’ve posted. To protect your privacy, stop posting personal information on the Internet. Use false information on open social media accounts. Anything data aggregation sites pull will be worthless.

The best way to maintain privacy is to refrain from using social media in the first place. Deleting social media accounts doesn’t remove all your data, but it will return some semblance of privacy to you.