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Safety & security

9 online accounts you can’t delete

Your choice of apps plays a large factor in your personal privacy and security. These programs collect data and sometimes share it with others. On top of that, each app takes up space. Do you really need a flashlight app when your phone already has one built-in?

It’s a good idea to do an app audit now and then. Run through your apps and get rid of the ones you don’t use or need. Tap here to get started with six apps you should delete right now.

Have you thought about how many sites and apps have your information? You may be registered with services you haven’t used in years or newer ones you barely use. Deleting an app isn’t enough; you have to delete your account along with it. This may not always be so straightforward, so we put together a list of nine apparently impossible accounts to delete.

Just delete me already

The more online accounts you have, the more exposed you are to hackers and tracking. Some apps and services make it difficult to delete your account entirely. They may require you to access the site from a desktop browser or contact the company directly.

One website makes it easier to find the relevant pages to delete an account. Go to justdelete.me and click on or type in the name of the service you want to drop. The site uses color codes according to how difficult the delete process is for a site. Green is easy, red is difficult, and black impossible. You can click on “Show Info” if you find yourself stuck to get some more background.

The following are nine online accounts categorized as “Impossible” to delete by JustDelete.Me.

Having trouble locating your old accounts? Tap or click here for tips on tracking them down.

1. Netflix

The information tab for Netflix on JustDeleteMe reads: “Contact customer services. Even then, they may not delete your account under the premise that you might want to rejoin and keep your history and recommendations.”

Go to help.netflix.com/en/node/407 to cancel your membership, but be aware of the fine print at help.netflix.com/en/node/100625, which says that the company retains “limited non-personally-identifying information” for “lawful reasons” and “fraud prevention.” This includes your email address and hashes of your payment details.

2. Wikipedia

JustDeleteMe says that you cannot delete your username on Wikipedia. Indeed, any links you find to go to the official page to delete your account on Wikipedia take you to a general FAQ page instead.

3. Pinterest

JustDeleteMe says you can deactivate your profile and have your posts hidden but not deleted. However, if you go to help.pinterest.com/en/article/deactivate-or-close-your-account, this is what it says under the “Deactivate Your Account” section. The “Close Your Account” section states that this action will “permanently remove your information from Pinterest.”

4. Steam

According to JustDeleteMe, Steam Support will tell you not to use the account to delete it. If you go to store.steampowered.com/account and log in to your account, you can submit a deletion request. Steam says your personal information will be removed, though “some content you’ve posted in community areas is not.” The process takes 30 days.

5. EdX

JustDeleteMe says you don’t need to delete your old edX account, as it will disappear after some time when you don’t use it. An edX support page states you can go to your account settings at courses.edx.org/account/settings to request a deletion. Note that some course data will be retained for research purposes as well as records for financial reasons.

6. Evernote

JustDeleteMe notes that you can only temporarily deactivate your Evernote account and that you’ll have to delete your notes and personal info yourself manually. While a link is provided to the deactivation page, another page describes how to close your account permanently.

Go to help.evernote.com/hc/en-us/articles/360056549574-Permanently-close-your-Evernote-account to learn how. The site states that all your notes and personal information will be deleted, though it takes four weeks.

7. Gizmodo

This one does seem impossible to delete. JustDeleteMe links to a broken page on the Kinja site. This same page is linked to on the Kinja page titled “Can I delete my Kinja account?”

Underneath this is the statement, “We do not delete replies or accounts at this time,” followed by a broken link to a Terms of Use page. Go to kinja.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360004518113-Can-I-delete-my-Kinja-account- and try it for yourself.

8. Starbucks

According to JustDeleteMe, you can request Starbucks to scramble your information but you can’t delete your account. Go to customerservice.starbucks.com/app/contact/ask_starbucks_website and request deletion.

The site’s privacy statement has a section that reads, “As required by law for taxes and other record-keeping purposes, we are unable to completely delete an account from our internal records.” Further down is a section that states you can request to delete your personal information, though this is “subject to certain exceptions.”

9. YouTube

Google owns YouTube, so you’ll have to delete your Google account to drop YouTube. You can, however, delete your channel and associated content permanently.

Follow the instructions at support.google.com/youtube/answer/55759#zippy=%2Cdelete-your-channel-permanently. This will remove your channel, comments, replies, messages and watch history.

Account deletion should play a part in your spring cleaning. Tap or click here for seven ways to clean out digital clutter.

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