Billions of deleted Facebook photos still visible online

WASHINGTON — Photos that users thought they deleted from Facebook may remain directly accessible on the social networking site for months, even years, after removal.

The website Arts Technica says 2 percent of the 140 billion photos that have been posted on Facebook are stored on an older system that was not properly deleting pictures, which means about three billion unwanted photos are still online.

Arts Technica, which says it first reported the problem in 2009, followed up on the story and found certain photos were still available. Users had been able to delete unwanted pics from Facebook’s main interface, but if someone had a direct link to the .jpg file, that person could still access the picture.

Facebook says the problem is an older storage system, which is being phased out. The company estimates it will be four to six weeks before the new system completely replaces the old one.

WTOP’S Hank Silverberg contributed to this report. Follow Hank Silverberg and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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