Next time when you decide to upload a photo, think twice if its absolutely necessary. Deleted Facebook photos don’t disappear but remain online for some period of time during which it can be accessed with the URL. The company admits that its systems ‘do not always delete images in a reasonable period of time.’
To test this, I uploaded a Picture on my Facebook with Privacy setting “Only me” , After sometime I deleted the image and it disappeared from my wall and I had no access further.
But, I was still able to access the deleted image using the image URL which I copied earlier when it was visible. The image was accessible even after a couple of months. For more than two months it remained in Facebook servers.
What happens when you delete Facebook Images
Deleted images vanish from ‘normal’ views of the site – i.e. if you log in to Facebook and look on somebody’s photo page, they won’t be visible – but it remains visible to anyone with a direct URL link to the picture. That means that if, for instance, a picture has been circulated by email, the image will still be there for anyone who clicks the link. Not all deleted pictures are affected, but a significant percentage.
Ars Technica writer find the deleted image still online
Over three years ago, Ars Technica writer Jacqui Cheng discovered that the Facebook photos you thought you had removed from the Internet were still there. A photo that one of his readers supposedly ‘removed’ in 2008 was still visible as of February 2012.
“Users who might have had second thoughts about posting a photo could certainly remove the image from Facebook’s main user interface, but as long as someone had a direct link to the .jpg file in question, the photo would remain accessible for an indefinite amount of time,” Cheng writes.
Facebook’s Spokesperson’s reply to Ars Technica
Facebook spokesperson Frederic Wolens told Ars via e-mail, “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.”
Wolens added that the social networking giant is working hard to move its photo storage to newer systems, but even then the photos will be fully deleted only after 45 days of the removal request being received.
Think twice before you upload
The news would shock users who’ve been relying on Facebook’s delete function to remove embarrassing photos from the site. Given that Facebook has not come up with a solution to rectify this problem in three years, we can hardly expect it to resolve this issue in the future.
So, the ultimate conclusion is that, think twice before you upload a photo and be careful that your friends don’t upload your photos which you don’t want to be uploaded.
Update: Facebook has now promised to really delete all deleted photos from all its servers within a reasonable amount of time ~30 days
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