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Experts: Deleted Photos Might Remain On Facebook Servers For Months, Even Years

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nicole-brewer-web Nicole Brewer
Nicole Brewer joined CBS 3 and The CW Philly’s Eyewitness News tea...
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By Nicole Brewer

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s the key to deleting digital error, and on Facebook, a way to erase embarrassing photos.

But just because you deleted a picture doesn’t mean it’s gone. An investigation by technology website Ars Technica reveals that deleted photos on Facebook actually remain on network servers.

That means your online indiscretions can be accessed for months–even years–through direct links.

“Part of the problem is that when you look at Facebook, you have top layer, user interface… then you have what’s happening underneath, the database servers,” says Andrea Forte, an assistant professor of social media at the Drexel University iSchool.

She also says Facebook has a responsibility to do on their server what they claim to be doing on the interface, but warns that’s not always the case.

There are mirrors, caches, archives, strategies for making sure we don’t lose things, but it means you might not have control over your info the way you think you do.

And that’s something that didn’t sit well with many students.

“Not the most comfortable, definitely nervous,” said Cameron Staines, of Radnor.

“Definitely be nerve-wracking in interviews or when applying for a job,” added Brian McCave from New Jersey.

Experts say frequent changes to Facebook’s interface – including the new Timeline feature – add to user confusion, especially when it comes to content and how it’s controlled.

“You get used to the behavior of a certain site. If that behavior changes, all of a sudden they are taking actions without understanding implications,” explained Forte.

Which serves as one more reason to think before you post.

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