9 Embarrassing Things People Tried To Erase From The Internet

By Samantha in Entertainment On 19th September 2015

#1 Beyoncé's publicist tries to eliminate unflattering photos

After photos from Beyonce's Super Bowl halftime performance popped up online, her publicist demanded that six of them be removed (4). The Internet said "neigh!"

#2 Barbra Streisand sues to remove an aerial shot of her home

We begin with an infamous case so ridiculous, it spawned its own meme. The Streisand Effect is when someone's attempt to ‘hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely (1). In 2003, a photographer took 12,000 images of the California coastline to document coastal erosion, including the one above. Streisand sued to have the image removed. She failed. total number of downloads for the image of her home? Before she sued: 6 (including two by her attorneys). After she sued: over 420,000 in the next month alone (1).

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#3 Irish judge demands “The Internet” delete video

So earlier this year a video was released from Ireland showing a kid avoiding paying a taxi fare. In the clip, someone names the kid. The video went viral and the kid got hammered. Problem is, it wasn't him. They gave the wrong name. The kid got erroneously slammed on social media. So a Judge decided that the only way to rectify the situation was for ‘the Internet' to delete the video. thought he admitted that ‘it was not clear whether this was possible, or how it might be done (2).'

#4 Syria removes itself from the internet

Moving from silly to creepy, you may have heard that there's a little civil war going on in Syria. In November 2012, the entire country went down in what the government called a massive, terrorist cyber-attack. It wasn't. It was a well-coordinated, government-controlled action intended to cut the country's citizens and rebel forces off from social media, in essence killing their ability to communicate (3). By December 1, the Internet was back on, but the entire episode was a chilling reminder that every country, every culture, has a Big Brother.

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#5 Technoviking wants his video removed from the Internet

It's a story as old as time. A blond hunk comes out of nowhere, protects a woman from a drunk, starts marching, the crowd joins him, hands him water, he dances. Seven years later the video footage of that moment turn him into an anonymous internet superstar. The man who originally took the footage of Techoviking in 2000 went on to make some money from his efforts (no word if we're talking mega-millions or just meal money). This year, Technoviking sued to have the original video removed from the internet, 13 years after it was taken (6).

#6 Kanye West wants to remove images of him in a skirt

Pretty much everybody knows that if you don't want pictures of you in a skirt to make the rounds, you shouldn't go out in public in a skirt. Kanye West didn't get the memo. At the 12-12-12 concert for Hurricane Sandy relief, he performed in a skirt. Then somebody told him, "Hey Kanye, you just performed in a skirt." Then Kanye said, "What? Oh, Hell no!" Then he asked Getty Images to remove any pictures they had of Kanye West performing in a skirt (7). And now images of Kanye West performing in a skirt are everywhere.

#7 Someone tries to erase Soulja Boy from the Internet

In 2013, an anonymous someone or someones hijacked Soulja Boy's YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts and deleted them (8). They got rid of all of his music videos. They got rid of his photos. For all we know they got rid of his Pinterest history.

Why? Nobody knows. Did it work? What do you think? Are there better things to do with one's time then try to erase a rap singer from the Internet? One would assume.

#8 Law enforcement agencies ask to remove evidence of police brutality

Just in case you thought creepy government censorship was only done in the Middle East (though if you've half a brain, you know it doesn't), in 2011, law enforcement agencies asked Google and YouTube to delete any evidence they had online showing police brutality (9). Thankfully, we live in a democracy where the right to record the police doing unspeakable things to ordinary citizens is enshrined in the Constitution.

#9 Bev Stayart sues Google over search results

In 2008, businesswoman Bev Stayart Googled herself. Due to the randomness of the Internet, her name came up alongside Levitra and other drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction. Rather than recognise this as a random algorithmic anomaly, she saw it as an affront to her good name. So she sued Yahoo! The judge threw the case out. She sued Google. The judge threw the case out. Her desire to remove the stain of erectile dysfunction medication from her name is now so ubiquitous and legendary, that any search of Bev Stayart brings up mention of erectile dysfunction medication. And it's no longer a randomly generated result (10).