Are your deleted-photos from social networking sites really gone?


After having deleted some of your “embarrassing” photos from social networking sites, you’d probably be thinking – “Well, that was the end of it… it’s all gone and buried”.

Well… don’t be too sure…

Researchers at the Cambridge University say that user photographs can still be found on many social networking sites even after people have deleted them.


Using the direct addresses to the deleted photographs, the team of researchers were able to detect almost seven such sites out of 16 most popular websites that still showed the deleted photos. The seven sites also include Facebook.

To this, Facebook said that the images are removed from its servers immediately, however, the URLs to photographs may continue to exist on the Content Delivery Network until they are overwritten.

How was the experiment conducted?

  • Photos were uploaded to different sites.
  • The photos were then deleted, however, the researches kept a note of direct URLs to the photos from the sites’ content delivery networks.
  • 30 days later, these links continued to work for seven of the sites even though a typical user might think the photos had been removed.

This just goes to show how lax some social networking sites can get about the users privacy.

So remember, before uploading a potentially “embarrassing” photograph on any of the social networking sites, be 100% sure that you wouldn’t want to remove it later. You don’t want to take any chances, especially now that you know you can never be too sure when it comes to your “privacy” on the internet!

One reply on “Are your deleted-photos from social networking sites really gone?”

  1. Lolz, it’s quite funny as well as something to think about.

    Websites should respect their user’s privacy and allow users to remove their property (photos/videos) from their database entirely if they want to.

    It had been better if Swati (or that research team) had posted those site’s names too. I’m a bit shocked to know this news, really!

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