Flickr accidentally deletes user's 4,000 photos

Highlights dangers of cloud-based storage

Flickr faux pas saw a user s 4 000 photos irretrivably deleted

Trust in Yahoo-owned photo sharing site Flickr has fallen as one member's account has been inadvertently deleted, with its 4,000 photos wiped out in the process.

Luckily Micro Wilhelm, whose account was terminated, has the original files of all his photos saved elsewhere, but all the links to his work around the web are now obsolete and his comments, favourites and contacts seem to be irretrievable.

It turns out that Wilhelm had been in touch with Flickr some days about another account that he suspected of plagiarising his images and Flickr simply deleted the wrong user account.

Ctrl-Z

When notified, Flickr told Wilhelm that the account could be reactivated, but none of Wilhelm's photos could be restored. If he hadn't had back-ups, the images would be lost forever (aside from a less-than-satisfactory Google cache).

However, it was the social aspect of the error that most upset Wilhelm. When offered four years of free Pro service to make up for the error, he was underwhelmed.

"How can this really compensate losing close to 4000 "linked" pictures from my web albums?

"I have to recreate most of these links manually, which will take weeks, if not months of my free time! Not to mention, external websites that had linked these images (including some official Yahoo! and Flickr blogs)," he wrote in a blog post.

Storm cloud

Flickr's official comment on the situation promised that a restore system is in the works to avoid this happening again:

"Yesterday, Flickr inadvertently deleted a member's account.

"Our teams are currently working hard to try to restore the contents of this user's account. We are working on a process that would allow us to easily restore deleted accounts and we plan on rolling this functionality out soon."

Nevertheless, it serves as a cautionary tale to anyone hoping that the cloud holds all the answers to their storage issues; it may not be as reliable as you think.

Via the New York Observer