Facebook has confirmed that over the next two months it will finally fix an issue that has left a number of deleted photos live and available on its system.
Currently, not all photos that are deleted by users are gone completely as some can still be seen on the social network by anyone with a direct link to the image, as Ars Technica reports. This is an issue which has not been fixed more than three years after first being highlighted, and it continues to frustrate users who seek to remove embarrassing, private or unsuitable images from the social network.
The company says that by April it will complete the migration of all users’ images to a new content management system on which every photo deleted by a user will be removed from Facebook’s servers and the service permanently. According to Facebook, that entire deletion process will be carried out within 45 days of the initial removal request.
A spokesman confirmed that its initial efforts to fix the problem fell flat due to issues with its previous system:
[The new] process is nearly complete and there is only a very small percentage of user photos still on the old system awaiting migration. We expect this process to be completed within the next month or two, at which point we will verify the migration is complete and we will disable all the old content.
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.
It seems almost unbelievable that this issue could have gone unfixed by Facebook for such a significant amount of time, particularly given the number of requests and concerned emails that Ars Technica claims to have received since it first covered the issue in 2009.
It cites a number of examples, including a man whose friend posted photographed his toddler crawlign naked in his garden, as proof of the continued problems. While the photo of the toddler was deleted in April 2008, the original link is still live and the image can be seen almost four years after it was ‘removed’.
More interestingly, links to a number of undeleted images in the original 2009 article were permanently removed by Facebook without comment of confirmation. This action clearly shows that someone at the social network was aware of the issue and took action to mitigate the situation by removing the links, which could make the issue appear to be remedied.
As Ars Technica rightly claims, we will have to wait and see if Facebook will finally deliver on its promise to put this very basic user right into action.