Facebook finally deleting unwanted photos from servers

Facebook said this week that it has fixed a glitch that allowed links to deleted photos to stay live long after a user thought they’d been banished from the site.

Photos that users have deleted are quickly removed from  Facebook  profiles and newsfeeds, but if you happened to have a link to the deleted pic, that link stayed live for some time. An update to the Facebook network, however, has fixed the problem, a spokesman for the social network said.

“As a result of work on our policies and infrastructure we have instituted a ‘max-age’ of 30 days for our content distribution network (CDN) links,” the spokesman said. “However, in some cases the content will expire on the CDN much more quickly, based on a number of factors.”

“To be clear, the photos stop being shown to other users on Facebook immediately when the photo is first deleted by the user,” he continued. “The 30 day window only applies to the cached images on the CDN.”

The update was first  noted by Ars Technica, which said the photo-deletion problem has been plaguing Facebook users for three years. The publication first questioned Facebook about the issue in 2009 and discovered back in February that it was still unresolved.

Twitter and Flickr manage to delete photos from their CDNs in “mere seconds,” Ars said, but MySpace took months and Facebook took more than a year.

Ars tested out photo deletion on  Instagram, which Facebook just acquired for $1 billion, and found that aside from a four-month delay on one photo, other pics were instantly deleted from Instagram’s servers.

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