Saturday, June 02, 2007

Deleting blog content safely

In a post yesterday about Flea’s legal difficulties I mentioned the fact that deletion of blog content is not entirely safe because it is preserved in Google’s cache and can easily be searched. Today I found this post from Cathy at I’m a Blogaholic which provides a workaround.

The workaround takes advantage of the fact that Google’s cache periodically updates its snapshot of your web page. Simply modify the post or posts in question in a way that removes content you consider risky or renders it harmless. Then wait a few days for Google to update the cache (you can search the cached content to verify that the update took place). Then delete. The same strategy works for blog lines.

The Internet Archive Wayback Machine is more problematic because it saves all the old copies of your site. If you’re lucky, the objectionable content will miss the archive, which updates at discrete points in time at variable intervals. Fortunately it’s fairly difficult to find specific content in the Wayback Machine. It’s not retrieved by Google, and the Wayback Machine itself can’t be searched by text or titles---the url must be entered.

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