Facebook: Your old deleted photos could still exist online

Thumbnail image for 728 teens-leaving-facebook.jpgWe’re all guilty of untagging horrendous and unflattering (usually drunken) photos from Facebook, but sometimes they’re so bad you just have to delete them, or get your friends to. But now it’s been revealed that those embarrassing/ugly/incriminating photos we so swiftly deleted may still exist somewhere online.

According to All Facebook, the social network has recently admitted that cached versions of photos may not be completely deleted and may still be floating around the web. Apparently they’re not easy to find and the complex URLs will contain lots of letters and numbers, but anyone who knew the exact address would still be able to access them.

Ars Technica’s Jacqui Cheng first flagged up the problem three years ago, but it seems it still hasn’t been rectified. In a series of emails back and forth between Facebook and Cheng a spokesperson wrote:

“The systems we used for photo storage a few years ago did not always delete images from content delivery networks in a reasonable period of time, even though they were immediately removed from the site.

“We have been working hard to move our photo storage to newer systems that do ensure that photos are fully deleted within 45 days of the removal request being received.
This process is nearly complete, and there is only a very small percentage of user photos still on the old system awaiting migration. The URL you provided was stored on this legacy system. We expect this process to be completed within the next month or two, at which point we will verify that the migration is complete and we will disable all of the old content.”

Given Facebook is SO huge it’s bound to encounter these kinds of problems from time to time, but you’d have thought this issue would now be sorted three years down the line.

The fact some old photos may still be somewhere probably won’t hurt or offend anyone in the long run (unless you’ve been doing really bad things and there was photo evidence on Facebook at some point to prove it), but it’s more the principle that users don’t have the ability to properly control content that belongs to them. But then again if that’s the case, maybe they shouldn’t be on Facebook at all…

[Via All Facebook]
Becca Caddy