Facebook fixes photo deletion issue 3 years after privacy questions were raised

Facebook has finally resolved an issue that prevented users’ photos from being completely deleted, according to Ars Technica, which first raised privacy concerns about the matter three years ago.

Previously when users deleted their photos, the images were removed from the site but still accessible with a direct link. This was because Facebook’s early photo storage systems did not always delete cached images from the site’s content delivery networks. In some cases the photos were available months or years after users thought they deleted them.

Now Facebook has moved its photo storage to newer systems and instituted a 30-day maximum age for CDN links. A Facebook spokesperson told Ars Technica that some content will expire on the CDN much more quickly, though he couldn’t say what factors affect this process.

Ars Technica found that after adding new photos and deleting them, the direct links expired within two days. That’s an improvement over months or years, but still slow compared to Instagram or Twitter, which remove images from their servers instantly.

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