ChatGPT is a powerful, ever-evolving tool. As such, it’s been used for a variety of purposes. Some use it for academic purposes while others want to probe the deepest philosophical questions of our time. Still some simply want to ask it silly, largely inconsequential things. Every user, however, is helping to push the boundaries of what AI can do.
Asking ChatGPT all manner of questions, such as the best motorcycles in history, is part of the reason why the technology is ever-advancing. To engage with the chatbot, though, users typically need verified OpenAI accounts. Providing cell phone numbers and other such personal details, of course, means that this information can potentially be compromised, and the chatbot’s access to vast swathes of Internet content is another big potential concern.
As Internet users become increasingly savvier and more concerned about their personal data, they may very well want to remove this information and their usage history from ChatGPT. Though there are quick and convenient ways to act on this, full removal is rather more difficult.
Deleting history and personal data from ChatGPT
ChatGPT developed its capacities by consuming 300 billion words of prose from around the Internet. To start to address these very real concerns, the software implements a feature that allows users to remove their history from the app. In April 2023, the OpenAI blog showcased the new feature. Users need only do the following:
Access the main Settings menu from their profile page.
Toggle Chat History & Training (enabled by default) off.
By so doing, their usage history will be fully deleted after 30 days, and will not be retained to further teach ChatGPT what makes humanity tick. To delete a ChatGPT account entirely, follow these steps:
Open the main Settings menu from your profile page.
From Data Controls, switch Hide to Show.
Select Delete Account.
Input the associated email account and confirm.
Removing personal data individually is a rather trickier affair. ChatGPT’s new OpenAI Personal Data Removal Request form highlights the fact that users can only “request” their data to be removed from the service. It emphasizes that completing the form (which asks for data such as full name, email address, whether the user in a public figure and so on) promises nothing, and that “”relevant prompts” and “screenshots of relevant examples / generations” must be provided to demonstrate that ChatGPT is actively using one’s personal information publicly. The “country whose law applies section” is of limited scope, too, preventing US users and most outside of Europe from submitting it.