Facebook has announced that it will now permanently delete photos that users have deleted on the social networking giant. This is a huge improvement over the previous situation.
Users have been able to press the delete photos for years, but this only deleted photos from Facebook’s interface. The permalink created when the photo was posted to Facebook would still work even after the user requested its deletion. This created privacy concerns, as anyone with the permalink could continue to share the photo.
A new version of Facebook’s content delivery service has mostly solved this problem. Deleting a photo from the social network will immediately delete it from Facebook’s pages and also delete it entirely from the company’s servers. However, it can take up to 30 days for the photo to be removed from the content delivery cache, which means users with the permalink will still be able to access the deleted photo for a limited time.
Most users are reporting that deletion happens much quicker than Facebook’s maximum timeframe. Facebook spokesperson Frederic Wolens confirmed this, saying “in some cases the content will expire on the CDN much more quickly, based on a number of factors.”
This change closes a loophole that had long concerned users concerned with privacy. Users will finally be able to feel comfortable than embarrassing or unflattering photos can be deleted for good and won’t continue to be held on Facebook’s servers. The social network intends to follow up this change with a new, optional photo protection scheme that should debut in late August.