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Environment & Science

Fixing online reputations, is it doable?

Would you take this photograph of yourself down?
Would you take this photograph of yourself down?
t. magnum/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

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The last time you applied for a job, you probably made sure that your Facebook profile was viewable only to your friends. You most likely “detagged” any unflattering pictures of you doing anything that could be seen as wild, such as drinking or even just being at a bar. You probably aren’t even a party animal or a raging alcoholic, but you still feel the need to protect your online image as much as possible.

But just how possible is it? As we have seen in recent years, social media is proving to be quite the curveball for public relations firms that focus on crisis management. The BP oil spill permanently tarnished the company’s reputation, Toyota’s recall shook the auto maker to its core and Herman Cain’s promising run for the Republican presidential nomination was completely dashed due to his handling of accusations leveled against him.

If corporations and politicians are suspect to such failure, what hope does the regular person have? Services are popping up which claim to adequately control one’s digital reputation. How do they work? Once something is on the Internet, isn’t it there for good?


What’s an effective strategy to combat negative information or raunchy photographs? How do you control your portrayal online? Do you worry about this sort of thing, or is it just a trend? Has your opinion of anyone you personally know changed because of something you saw on the Internet?


Matt DeBord, Senior Reporter and Business Blogger for KPCC; he writes The DeBord Report for

Michael Fertik, CEO and Founder of