The Dangers of False Online Information

There is a ton of information online about you. From social media posts to old addresses to family photos, people can find a lot of information about you with a quick Google search, and even more, if they know where to look. Online information can also greatly affect your life. Potential employers and academic programs often do a quick search and pull up old social media or blog posts. 

Information on the internet has a lot of power. And, unfortunately, it is easier than ever to spread false information online. If there is false information floating around about you, it could negatively affect your ability to get a job, get an education, or even get a line of credit. Protecting your online reputation is more important than ever.

What Makes Up Your Online Reputation?

Your online reputation is compiled from a lot of sources. No one database gives you a reputation score, but what people find about you will affect how they see you in more personal interactions. Everything that has been on the internet is still there for the finding.

You rarely consider the long-term impact a username or conversation will have when you are a young teenager. However, as you grow up and look for a job, a potential employer could come across an old account from a social media or gaming site that you don’t even remember having. 

You can also be tagged or mentioned in other people’s posts, acting as a reflection of you. Even if the post doesn’t reference something you have said or done, it shows the kind of people you associate with in life. 

Even if you manage to keep your posts clean, others can post reviews of your work or business that can cast you in a negative light.

What Does Your Online Reputation Affect?

In the world today, it is nearly impossible to separate your online reputation from your “real life” reputation. Increasingly, your online life is a large portion of your real life. With so many people working from home and companies and employees deciding to keep work-from-home programs going, you may increasingly find that coworkers only know you from your online presence.

More and more, personal reputation with friends, family, and coworkers will be affected by what is out there on the internet about you.

#1 Personal

False information about you can be complicated to combat. People can post false information about you, such as your name, address, email, phone number, and credit card information. You might not want the real information out there, either, but false information can cause even more issues.  

Even more damaging can be false negative statements about you. On most sites, you can get your information edited. However, if someone else has posted false information, it is more challenging to get that removed. False statements can damage or hinder friendships and relationships, making it even more challenging to get approved loans or rentals. 

#2 Professional 

False information about you can be damaging to your professional life, as well. It can prevent you from getting jobs. It can prevent you from getting promotions. It can cause you to lose your job. If you are the owner of a business, false information about you can hurt your business. Inversely, false information about your business can also hurt your business and your personal reputation. 

Your livelihood may be on the line when false information is on the internet about you. Making sure that you are keeping that information cleaned up can mean the difference between being able to pay your bills or not.

How to Handle False Online Information

How you handle false information online can depend on the specific information that is out there and how widespread it is. You may be able to ask someone to simply remove your name from the tagged post. You might also be able to comment on a post stating that you disagree with the post or tone, which may be enough.

You may have to take legal action to get information removed from a platform or website in some cases. You may be able to prove that the information is defamatory and seek some damages from the person posting the false information. At the very least, this would give you a way to prove the information is false.  

If the information is something you can control, like an old social media account, you can go in and delete it yourself. 

However, it may become necessary to call in professional help. Unless you are a professional yourself, you likely do not know how to remove your name from Google search. A professional will be able to help you to do so, along with getting other information removed.

Keep It Honest

There are so many ways that false information about you can end up on the internet. It would be best if you kept an eye on what people can find about you. That false information can have a real-world impact on your everyday life if you don’t keep it under control.

Rebecca Stuart is a writer and SEO enthusiast. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and hiking.