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Are Your Social Network Photos Really Being Deleted?

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[ Social Media]

PC World is pointing to an interesting study that has found that some popular social sites are not really deleting your photos when you think they are. When the average user deletes a photo they have posted on Facebook for example, they assume that photo is gone.

Tiger passed out

This is not always the case however. The University of Cambridge has discovered that at least seven popular sites might still have those photos live for as many as thirty days. These seven sites are:

- Facebook
- MySpace
- Bebo
- hi5
- LiveJournal
- SkyRock
- Xanga

Meanwhile, sites like Windows Live Spaces, Orkut, Photobucket, and Flickr were able to remove photos almost immediately.

In actuality, the offending sites have removed the images from their servers. It’s just that the images still resided on content delivery networks, which store them. BBC News quotes a Facebook spokesperson on the matter:

"When a user deletes a photograph from Facebook it is removed from our servers immediately. However, URLs to photographs may continue to exist on the Content Delivery Network (CDN) after users delete them from Facebook, until they are overwritten. Overwriting usually happens after a short period of time." 

Those trying to manage their online reputations are going to have to consider that their efforts might not be enough in some cases. If nothing else, this should be a lesson to think about what photos you are posting of yourself to begin with.

Are Your Social Network Photos Really Being Deleted?
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  • http://www.greeneurope.org/ Samantha

    Most social networking users are not responsible enough when it comes to posting picture. Then, still in shock why their pictures are seen all over the net!

  • Guest

    So why get upset???? Once you do “anything” online it’s a matter of public record. Why isn’t anyone “getting this”???? HINT: Try the wayback machine to see your online presence… and then go “oh sh*t” Yeah, online = eternity. You earn what you deserve

    • LMAO

      So True, So True

  • http://www.aa1car.com Larry

    Another issue with posting photos or graphics online is that other people can easily right click and save the image on their PC, then repost it on their own page or at a later date without your knowledge or consent. They might even pretend to be you!

  • http://officialsafetyandsecurity.com Official Safety and Security

    I’m mainly on FaceBook and MySpace for socially marketing my safety and security web site and any pics I put up would be for that purpose so this delay in deletion may be a problem for me. However, anyone wanting to manage their online image has to realize that those offending images can be copied and passed around by anyone who sees them, even before you take them down so taking them down may not accomplish your goal. You really need to think about what an image says about you before you ever post it on the web ANYWHERE. Thanks, Chris, for this information.

  • http://paradoxofreality.com/blog Reeta

    It’s not just about reputation management because you can control that yourself by limiting what you put up.

    My peeve concerns work do’s, courses and even barbecues where pics are taken and then slapped up on facebook etc whether you want them there or not. Seems to lack basic courtesy when someone does that without considering that other people may not want their picture up somewhere where anyone can save it to their hard drive.

    • http://sunflowerranch.blogspot.com Sunflower Ranch

      The rudeness you mention is only an example of the pervasive rudeness of our society. Drivers are rude, children are rude, adults are rude — no one says please or thank you any more, let alone display some of the subtleties of good manners and basic courtesy. All classes of our society display the manners of the egotist — me mine and myself!! — to he** with everybody else. Sickening.

  • http://www.abundantace.com/ ace

    Someone once said that what gets posted on the net stays on the net.

    And even if the social networking sites delete pictures, you can still find the pictures in the waybackmachine.

  • http://www.usedcisco.com Juliet

    I agree with you since I notice it myself

  • Patwise

    “Meanwhile, sites like Windows Live Spaces, Orkut, Photobucket, and Flickr were able to remove photos almost immediately.”

    Not in every instance. Photobucket has had trouble removing images. They have a serious caching issue and often have to manually purge things for users who are lucky enough to notice and complain.

    Here is an example thread on their own (now defunct) forum where this is addressed. There are many similar complaints.
    http://forums.photobucket.com/showthread.php?t=31742

    Also, I’ve had an image deleted in error for a Terms of Use violation at Photobucket. Two weeks later they returned my image. So, somewhere they keep copies.

    As others have said, once it’s online, it’s out there for good.

  • http://interestingfactsabout.blogspot.com/ Shane

    I didn’t know this before. The content delivery network should remove them immediately.

  • Guest

    I have experience getting passwords to Myspace, Facebook, AOL, MSN, Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo accounts. My expertise ties with a current 0-Day Exploit I employ. I charge $40 per account password. I require either a Name, Friend ID, or E-mail address to the Target account(s).

    E-mail me at: mattm2525@yahoo.com

  • gnirlf

    Even when it’s supposedly deleted from the server and overwritten on the CDN it’s still probably not deleted. It’s one thing to remove a database entry that refers to an image file, it’s another thing to actually delete the file itself. When hosting these days can get you unlimited space and bandwidth, why would a site bother deleting anything? Someday someone might want to buy all that data from them and if the owner(s) or someone with access move to the right country with no extradition treaties then what do they care?