Flickr Accidentally Deletes User's 4000 Photos
February 2, 2011 /Photography News/ Flickr user Mirco Wilhelm says he lost 4,000 photos -- five years' worth of images -- due to a mistake on the part of a staffer at the popular picture hosting site.
The mishap occurred a few days ago, after Wilhelm sent in a support ticket to complain about a user who was posting photos that appeared to be stolen. In response, Flickr accidentally pressed delete on the wrong account.
Wilhelm's Flickr account has been active for five years, and numerous websites have linked back to his photos during that time. "Those links will now point to deadspace," writes The New York Observer, "Additionally, the followers he had accumulated, tags, photo captions and copyright information have been wiped out and may not be restored."
After Wilhelm contacted Flickr, the photo sharing website admitted they accidentally deleted his account and issued a somewhat light apology:
Unfortunately, I have mixed up the accounts and accidentally deleted yours. I am terribly sorry for this grave error and hope that this mistake can be reconciled. Here is what I can do from here:
I can restore your account, although we will not be able to retrieve your photos. I know that there is a lot of history on your account—again, please accept my apology for my negligence. Once I restore your account, I will add four years of free Pro to make up for my error.
Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do.
Again, I am deeply sorry for this mistake.
Yahoo has not publicly commented on the matter but on Flickr's community forum on Tuesday, senior community manager Zach Sheppard tried to mollify angry users by saying an "undo delete" feature was in the works.
"We've been working on the ability to restore accounts for a while and hope to have it completed early this year.
"We have been in contact with Mirco and may be able to restore his account. The partial work that has been done so far may make it possible to retrieve the account. It's only a maybe but we want to try and do everything we can to rectify this mistake.
"Just as people have stated above, we also believe this is an important feature to have in place for cases like this when there was an error. As many of you know we usually do not discuss features before they are released but because of the community concern we wanted to let you know in this case."
Flickr had 21.3 million unique users in December 2010, down 16 per cent from a year earlier. It appears to be suffering defection of users to Facebook and other sites. There are some five billion photos and short videos stored on the site.