How to Remove Unwanted Images from Google & Facebook

by | General, How To

As a recruiter, it’s vitally important that you have a professional online brand image for the sake of your career and your company’s employment brand. Chances are that any good candidate who is speaking to you will, at the very minimum, view your LinkedIn profile and google you and your company.

How people perceive you and your business is determined through your online reputation. Do you know what’s on the internet about you? What will people find when they conduct a few searches on you?

The best approach is to be proactive about managing your online reputation. And this includes knowing what images the public can view. The last thing you want is to lose is a business opportunity because a potential client found an embarrassing or distasteful picture of you at your bachelor party, which made you lose credibility and integrity with that person. Let’s not go down that dark road.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to keep your reputation on the up and up:

1. Give yourself an audit. Find out how you’re being perceived online.

  • Google yourself and see what shows up on the search results.
  • Click Images at the top of the results to be taken to Google Images to view what images are being shown to the public. Be sure nothing outside of your professional brand shows up.
  • Check other search engines, such as Bing and Yahoo.
  • Don’t just search your first and last name. You may want to augment your searches and try hunting cities and schools, usernames and nicknames, or other identifiers that people may have access to.
  • Search for inappropriate information on blogs, comments, mentions, dating sites, retail sites, and other web service accounts that you have.
  • Review all images, videos, and posts on your social media profiles – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.

2. Be proactive and take charge of your reputation by removing any unwanted images. Once you have scoured the internet and found some questionable images that you would like to dispose of, there are a few things you can do.

3. Rules for Removing Unwanted Images from the Internet

Before we jump into how to remove images, there are a few things to keep in mind when trying to delete images and information from the web.

Rule #1: Search for the original source

Many people think that if you request Google to take down an unflattering image that they will. Remember, Google, along with Bing and Yahoo, are all search engines. They aggregate information and images from other websites. They do not own this material and cannot control who publishes what.

Therefore, you must go to the original source, which may be a blog or news site, if you wish to permanently remove unsavory photos or defaming information about you. You will need to request that the owner, typically a webmaster or site owner, delete the image or article from their website.

Reaching out to Google (or Yahoo or Bing) will not work. Even if Google deletes the site or image from their search results, the page still exists on the site. This means it can be found through the URL to the site, social media sharing, or other search engines. Your best option is to contact the webmaster because they can remove the page entirely. (1)

Then, once the original owner removes it, it will take some time for the search engines to gradually filter it out of their search results.

However, according to Google’s removal policy, they “may remove images if they contain sensitive personal information, like a credit card number or a picture of your signature, or nude or sexually explicit images that were uploaded or shared without your consent.”

You can also report any content you find online that violates the law, which Google will review and then consider blocking, removing, or restricting access to.

Rule #2: Be polite!

Most of the unflattering images you find will come from social media because you voluntarily published it. There’s also a pretty good chance that you lost your rights to those images once you hit upload.

Many websites have strict “Terms of Use” guidelines, and once you publish something, you lose your ownership of that content. That’s why it’s so important to carefully think about what you’re uploading online before you post it. Because if you want something taken down, you will have to reach out to the individual webmasters and give a pretty good reason as to why they should remove it.

Keep in mind that these people are not obligated to take down your images. However, if you ask nicely and give a just cause, they may consider it and grant your request.

Rule #3: Be persistent!

It’s not easy to remove yourself from the internet. You may be diligent with your requests to take down embarrassing photos, but your emails may be rejected, lost in the shuffle, or just ignored. But don’t give up! Keep speaking up and contacting the webmasters to see progress.

Otherwise, take the steps below to permanently delete images from Google and Facebook.

How to Remove Images from Google

From Someone Else’s Site:

  • As mentioned above, you will have to contact the webmaster of the website. The best way to do that is to find a “Contact us” link or an email address for the webmaster. This information is often on the site’s homepage. (2)
  • If the changes you requested from the webmaster have already been made and you wish for Google to remove the outdated information, you can submit your request here.
  • If the image is covered under Google’s Removal Policies, you can make your request here.
  • If you want to remove unwanted and explicit personal images from Google, you can fill out their form here.

From Google’s Search Results:

  • Go to
  • Select the image link by right-clicking on the image thumbnail and choosing “Copy link address.” Make note that different browsers may have different names for the copying link location.
  • Go to the Removal Outdated Content page and paste the URL in the box and submit.
  • If you see the message “We think the image or web page you’re trying to remove hasn’t been removed by the site owner,” follow the steps on the screen to give us more information.
  • If you see the message “This content is no longer live on the website,” click Request removal.

From Your Own Website:

  • If the image is on your site, learn how to block content from your site from Google Search results with the Remove URLs Tool here.

From Other Google Products:

How to Remove Photos from Facebook

If your unflattering pictures are on Facebook, first you need to figure out if you or someone else posted it.

If you posted the photo:

  • Before you delete anything, know that this is a permanent action, and you won’t be able to retrieve the photo once it’s been deleted.
  • Click on the photo to open it.
  • Click Options on the menu bar below the photo.
  • Select Delete This Photo, then click Delete.

If someone else posted the photo, you have a couple options:

  • Request the person who posted it to take it down.
  • Report the photo to Facebook and they may take it down.

This is a tough one because Facebook won’t take down a photo just because you don’t like it. However, if you are being bullied by it or it’s inappropriate, they will remove it when you report it.

To report to Facebook:

  • Click on the photo to open it.
  • Click Options on the menu bar below the photo.
  • Select Give feedback or report photo.
  • Select the option that best describes the issue and follow the on-screen instructions.

You can also remove yourself if someone tagged you in a photo:

  • Click on the photo to open it.
  • Click Options on the menu bar below the photo.
  • Select Remove tag.
  • You can choose to remove the tag or ask the person who shared the photo to take it down.
  • Note that removed tags will no longer appear on the post or photo, but the post or photo is still visible to the audience it’s shared with. People may be able to view the post or photo in places like News Feed or search results. To remove it from Facebook completely, ask the person who posted it to take it down.
  • If the post is abusive, report it to Facebook.


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