Is it Monday? It is? Time for another “Facebook is actually creepy and stalkerish!” story. This time it’s about how it kept that picture of you that you “deleted,” like this one at right, which is of a close friend (he’s the one in the green dress).
Here’s the problem, and it’s been a problem for three years: if you “delete” a photo off your Facebook, it doesn’t actually get deleted from Facebook’s servers. If you have the direct image link, you can still look at the photos.
Needless to say, this has been a problem, since people have gotten fired, blackmailed, or otherwise ill-treated because of a stupid photo upload. Facebook, meanwhile, has been dragging its feet to delete these photos.
To us, though, this raises the question of “cui bono?” Facebook obviously is doing this deliberately: it’s not like it’s hard to erase a file on a server. In fact, just because the link is now broken doesn’t mean Facebook has actually deleted the file, either.
If we had to offer a guess, we’d say that Facebook is actually retaining these images and using them for in-house tests of new features surrounding photos. In fact, they practically admit that they’ll use your photo any way they damn well feel like:
For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it…
When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture)…
Yeah, those would be numbers one and four off Facebook’s Terms of Service. Of course, that same TOS says that:
When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).
Obviously, this is grade-A B.S. So, we think there’s a lot more to this story, and considering Facebook is violating their own terms of service, maybe they could weigh in with, oh, I don’t know, an honest explanation?
(Image via Shutterstock)