Facebook now actually deletes photos

Facebook is finally removing photographs that have been flagged for deletion, reports Jacqui Cheng of Ars Technica, who has been tracking the timeliness of image deletions on Facebook for more than the last three years.

Cheng found that photos that were deleted from Facebook, both submitted from readers of Ars Technica and direct links that she had been tracking herself for research purposes, were finally disappearing for good since February 2012. She tested this more recently and found that photos were being deleted in as quickly as two days.

It wasn't always this easy. In 2009, Ars Technica tested four social networking sites to see how fast deleted photos would disappear from the Internet. Back then, Cheng found that photos were removed from the content delivery networks of Twitter and Flickr after a few short seconds of deletion. However, MySpace and Facebook weren't quite as efficient, with images remaining on MySpace for up to several months later, while Facebook took more than a year to delete Cheng's photos. Multiple readers of Ars Technica pointed out that their photo links were still working, even three years later and longer.

The recent improvement can be attributed to policy updates at Facebook. "As a result of work on our policies and infrastructure, we have instituted a 'max-age' of 30 days for our CDN links," Facebook spokesperson Frederic Wolens said. "However, in some cases the content will expire on the CDN much more quickly, based on a number of factors."

Good news for everyone who has uploaded a photo and regretted it.

Source: Ars Technica

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13 Comments

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Reminds me of yahoo or msn when you wanted to delete an account that they said it would take over 90days for it to fully delete, IMO it should be instant or in 24hours. It's nearly impossible to delete yourself from online which is lame if these companies don't let you.

It can be deleted from the production bd in 24 hours. But deleting all trace from backups in 24 hours is nearly impossible for such big companies.

brent3000 said,
The question is,

are they deleting it, or moving them somewhere else?

This is the real question! ""As a result of work on our policies and infrastructure, we have instituted a 'max-age' of 30 days for our CDN links,"" this tells me that for 30days the CDN links are valid after that, are the photos removed?

brent3000 said,
The question is,

are they deleting it, or moving them somewhere else?


Kept for other reasons. C'mon, they've got the MS anti-child-abuse filter thing which is good and all, but you can BET it's got backups all over the place.

n_K said,

Kept for other reasons. C'mon, they've got the MS anti-child-abuse filter thing which is good and all, but you can BET it's got backups all over the place.

Of course Facebook has more than one backup. A little 10 millions in revenue 50 employees travel agency i worked for had more than one backup ... they had a daily backup stored in a fireproof safe inside the building and they had a weekly backup stored in a remote location.

People got to realise that deleting the content AND all the backups is not as easy as it sounds.

It can takes weeks depending on the backups. Loading a past monthly backup on a daily basis stored in a remote location just to delete a picture just doesn't make any business sense.