How to Find Old Accounts on Social Media

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How to Find Old Accounts on Social Media

September 11, 2017

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It’s not uncommon to create social media profiles only to forget about them later on. Maybe you wanted to try a new app but ended up deleting it later. What most people don't know is that these old social media profiles can have a negative effect on their online footprint. So, in order to build a positive online reputation, it's important to find old accounts on social media.

What are old social media accounts?

  • Old social media accounts are social media profiles you no longer update
  • Deleting apps doesn’t automatically delete your accounts on the apps
  • Old social media profiles can also include any accounts you made anonymously, especially if they’re tied to your email address or phone number

Why should students care?

Social media accounts usually require personal information upon activation. If there was a data breach on that social media platform then your personal information can be easily leaked, this can hurt other profiles too if you’ve used the same password across platforms.

Why colleges & employers care

  • When colleges and employers look you up online they want to get a better idea of who you are as an applicant. If old social media accounts are discoverable, it can make it hard for them to determine which accounts you are actively using
  • If your old social media accounts have negative posts or aren’t a positive representation of who you are then they can impact your chances of being accepted into your dream school or dream job

How to find old accounts on social media using Google

We recommend using the Chrome browser to search for your old accounts. Open a new incognito window and search the queries below, in Google:

  • Search for your username
  • Example: @JoshOchs
  • Look up your email address
  • Example: Josh@gmail.com
  • Search for your first and last name
  • Example: Josh Ochs
  • Use your nicknames
  • Example: Joshua Ochs
  • Add networks to the end of your search
  • Example: Josh Ochs Facebook
  • Don’t forget to check the image results tab

Example of how old social media accounts can be negative

According to a new report, turning down young job candidates because of what they post on social media has become commonplace. Even if it’s an old social media account, employers and colleges will assume that’s you (and they have no idea when you created it). The report, by On Device Research, states that 1 in 10 people between ages 16 and 34 have been turned down for a new job because of photos or comments on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networking sites.

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