Facebook allows you to click “delete” on any humiliating picture in your profile. But don’t be fooled: A photo you think is gone can linger on Facebook’s servers for nearly a year and a half.
Jacqui Cheng of Ars Technica offers definitive proof: A Facebook picture she “deleted” in May 2009 (below right) and wrote an article about in July 2009 was still on Facebook’s servers today, more than 16 months later. The social network removed the links to the picture right away, but never got around to removing the actual image file, meaning anyone who had or could obtain a URL to the image could get it from Facebook.[imgclear]
The social network told Cheng in July 2009 that the picture would be removed in “a reasonable period” and that others would not be able to see it. Both statements proved false, but Facebook wasn’t apologetic with her this time around:
“For all practical purposes, the photo no longer exists, and we wouldn’t be able find it if we were asked or even compelled to do so,” Facebook spokesperson Simon Axten told Ars via e-mail this week. “This is similar to what happens when you delete information from the hard drive of your computer.”
Except, of course, that your hard drive is not indexed by search engines like Google, cached in web browsers or as easily scraped and archived for posterity by web hackers. Someone who is determined to find a deleted, embarrassing picture will have much better odds of doing so if it was once posted to Facebook. Good thing Cheng’s image was exceedingly pedestrian. People with more embarrassing photos should be worried it took Facebook 16 months to remove a file publicly linked from a national tech website. Facebook needs to make “delete” actually “delete”. The website has enough trouble protecting users from privacy leaks that aren’t supposed to happen; there’s no reason to place leaks into Facebook’s infrastructure by design.
Embarrassing Facebook image at top via this old post
Republished from Defamer