Facebook privacy concerns are nothing new but now that the company has gone public, they appear to be cleaning up their act. Although there’s still a lot of work to be done, we are now hearing that a new photo storage system is capable of removing deleted photos from Facebook servers in a reasonable amount of time.
Ars Technica began chronicling Facebook, MySpace, Flickr and Twitter in 2009 to see how long it would take for deleted photos to actually disappear from online servers. The process was rather simple and is described as something that even a novice computer user could manage. The team would upload photos to each service then by right-clicking and opening the photo in a new window, they would have access to a direct URL.
This link would be stored in their browser bookmarks and after deleting photos from each service, they would monitor how long it took for the URL to become inactive – essentially how long each service held on to the picture after the user request that it be deleted.
They found that Flickr and Twitter were able to remove the offending photos from their content delivery networks within seconds. It took MySpace several months to erase all traces of a photo while some Facebook photos were still intact over a year later. In fact, several readers wrote in saying they’ve been waiting for more than three years for Facebook to remove deleted pictures.
Facebook has now confirmed that their new photo storage system does away with these concerns, a process that Ars was able to independently confirm. Their testing now shows that deleted photos disappear within two days or so – much more acceptable if you ask us.