USERS of Facebook can finally breathe a sigh of relief when they delete a photo from their profile.
The social media giant is finally changing its system so that when a user removes a photo it is permanently deleted and not stored on the company’s server.
For years Facebook has been holding onto deleted images of its users – often of an embarrassing or even incriminating nature.
Now it will be permanently erasing pictures within a 14-day “delete command” with a maximum delay of 30 days between removal from someone’s profile and from the server as a whole.
The change was announced three years after Cambridge PhD student Joseph Bonneau found pictures he thought he deleted.
The 28-year-old notified Facebook after he found that he could still access the removed images a month after he had deleted them.
He said: “It didn’t require very much expertise to view the pictures, you just had to remember the link or save it – pretty much anyone could do it.
“It is obviously an improvement now that Facebook has deleted the photos from the server.
“It has taken them a very long time to do it because this change probably represents a huge engineering effort.
“The lesson hopefully to other companies is to build in privacy right from the start, because if you don’t get it right first time it can be a huge effort to fix.”
Studies suggest that up to 91% of employers now use sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to check up on anyone applying for a job at their company.
Of the employers in the study 69% actually admitted on refusing someone a role because of something they saw on their social media profile.
Facebook spokesman Frederic Wolens said: “As a result of work on our policies and infrastructure we have instituted a ‘max-age’ of 30 days for our content distribution network link (CDN).
“However in some cases the content will expire on the CDN much more quickly.
“To be clear, the photos stop being shown to other users on Facebook immediately when the photo is first deleted by a user.”