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

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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One Comment

  1. M.Devlin says:

    Facebook complaint,

    On 2/4/2012 I received an email from Facebook on behalf of a relative who didn’t realize she was including me in an invitation to be her Facebook Friend. The email actually was titled “Reminder: =======invited you to join Facebook…” What followed the “…” was not clear. I opened the email to unsubscribe, even though I resent having to unsubscribe from something that I never subscribed to.

    There I found the pictures and info of the three invitations I received over the years. I had not responded to any of them and have not corresponded with them since the invitations.

    I clicked the unsubscribe link only to find that “Sorry, something went wrong. We’re working on getting this fixed soon as we can.

    I clicked on the “Go Back” Link which did not go back. Instead it went to a sign up page.

    Three attempts at unsubscribing has seriously angered me. I have to wonder if they ever do allow unsubscription. What does unsubscribe even mean to Facebook? Is Facebook going to keep my email address, my name and who tried to befriend me on file? Help!

    Note that unlike the “friends” who gave my information, inadvertently or not, to Facebook, I have blocked out names, pictures and address information.

    M.A.D. (initials)

    Please to not put my name, email address or anything else on facebook, twitter, or anywhere.

Comments are closed.

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