Finally, when we delete an embarrassing image from our Facebook lives, it will be wiped from Facebook's servers in a "reasonable amount of time," Facebook told Ars Technica's Jacqui Cheng, who has been following the saga since 2009. Before now, the photos sat on Facebook's servers, latent, yet still available, which is the exact opposite of what the action of deletion should mean.
Now, because of new servers the company has built, however, the term has taken back its true meaning. Following deletion, photos will exist for no longer than a month, according to a spokesperson. "As a result of work on our policies and infrastructure, we have instituted a 'max-age' of 30 days for our CDN links," Frederic Wolens told Cheng. "However, in some cases the content will expire on the CDN much more quickly, based on a number of factors." When Cheng tried it out herself, her photos were deleted from the Internet forever in two days, which isn't quite the immediacy we want when erasing an illicit image, but it is better than never.
Facebook has also extended this good policy to Instagram's images; it bought the company earlier this year. Deleted photos from the app will remain on the servers no longer than 24 hours. Though we rejoice this update, let us not forget that this is what the company should have been doing all along. When we say delete, we really mean it. At the same time, it's always good to be careful of what you're posting in the first place.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.