Don’t be a Zucker sucker, you can clean up online - Ickleford man’s ‘Forget Me Do’ app can protect your reputation

Facebook has made founder Mark Zuckerberg one of the richest men in the world but people are becomin

Facebook has made founder Mark Zuckerberg one of the richest men in the world but people are becoming increasingly concerned of the long-term effects of sharing all the details of your life online. - Credit: Archant

Everyone has said or done things that should be forgotten, but nothing is forgotten online – that’s the idea that inspired an Ickleford man to put together an app to fight the privacy risks of the internet age.

Among the examples cited by Ben Smyth, creator of the Forget Me Do app, are a trainee teacher who was denied a qualification because of a ‘drunken pirate’ photo on social media, and a psychotherapist who was barred from the USA after an internet search revealed that he had written about using LSD in an academic journal 40 years earlier.

The Forget Me Do app automatically deletes Facebook status updates a given amount of time after they are posted, and removes tags linking to the user’s profile from photos stored on the site.

“Our entire histories are widely accessible to our employers, partners, colleagues, subordinates, parents, neighbours, cousins and friends,” said Ben.

“Although each of us has disclosed information, let us be honest – we did not realise the implications.

“Facebook undoubtedly enhances our lives, but these risks have the potential to ruin your personal and professional lives.”

Facebook users upload more than 4.75 billion items of content, ‘like’ more than 4.5 billion items and send more than 10 billion messages every day. According to Ben’s calculations, the average Facebook user uploads 8,500 pieces of information about himself every year.

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He developed the app after coming to the conclusion that if one were to delete all these manually at a rate of five seconds each, it would take almost two days to finish.

The app is available on Android and iOS. It deletes 25 statuses and tags for free – unlimited deletes are available for a fee roughly the same price as a cup of coffee. Versions for other social network sites are planned.

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