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The Embarrassing Facebook Photos You Deleted Might Still Be There

by Kim Conte on February 7, 2012 at 3:58 PM

camera taking photos

For those of us who thought we were smart to delete any and all incriminating, embarrassing photos from our Facebook page, the news today is our biggest nightmare come true: Those deleted photos could STILL be lurking out there on the Internet.

That's right, Facebook has confirmed that many "deleted" photos have not disappeared completely and remain on the social network's servers. That means that despite your best efforts, the whole world may see that photo of you passed out on the floor with "Loser" in black marker on your forehead, or the one where you unwisely wore a bikini after too many burritos, or the one in which you thought it'd be fun to dress like your dog.

So, how do you know if they are still up there?

If there's a link out there to a photo you put on Facebook, then people may be able to see it even if you untagged yourself. According to Facebook, it's a glitch in its system -- and a rather unfortunate one I'd say. An update to the system is actually supposed to correct this and ensure that any deleted content is removed from its servers within 45 days. But that's not due for another month or two ... and even then, do you really trust that your stuff will be deleted off the Internet forever?

Those of us with hideous photos out there are left with only a few options: Be more careful than ever about what we upload to Facebook. Bribe our enemies with cookies in exchange for not mass-emailing links to our most embarrassing life moments caught on film. Never eat a burrito again.

It's a worst-case scenario especially for those of us that value our privacy online and aren't always so very photogenic. Still, we've always been told that nothing gets completely deleted from the Internet. Maybe a lesson in being mindful of what we put out there isn't such a bad thing after all.

Are there any photos you wish weren't up on Facebook?


Image via Evil Erin/Flickr

Filed Under: facebook, photos, privacy


  • Fyre522


    February 7, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    Well darn!  There goes all my hopes and dreams that those embarrassing photos of me, the gerbil, guinea pig, and the lava lamp being permentently deleted from the Internet!  D'oh!   LMAO

  • Stacey.


    February 7, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    No because I dont use facebook, nor do I take annoying photos like "this is me walking my dog, this is me eating a sandwich". Is it not common sense already that if you dont want the world to see something dont post it on the internet?

  • Sal
    -- Nonmember comment from


    February 7, 2012 at 5:32 PM
    Geez, Stacey, who peed on your Wheaties this morning? :-/
  • Michelle
    -- Nonmember comment from


    February 7, 2012 at 5:39 PM
    Boom.. Lol..
  • alandou


    February 7, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    I agree with Stacey. Although I do use FB, I use common sense about what I post.

  • Juneb...


    February 7, 2012 at 5:49 PM
    That 'download' button in the bottom right-hand corner of the pictures is free reign and people can download and re-post any and all pictures that they want so yes, be extremely careful whenever you post something to your photos now and even after facebook says that they fixed their 'glitch' in the system.
  • fallon
    -- Nonmember comment from


    February 7, 2012 at 7:50 PM
    I agree with Stacy & Alandou any photo images on Facebook or any other site can be copied by anyone and uploaded to other sites such as YouTube etc. "What’s on the internet stays on the internet". Word of advice you maybe a SAHM now but circumstances can change if you are put into a position where you may need to work remember, “Your Future Employer" has access to all of these photo.
  • Great...


    February 7, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    If you don't want incriminating pictures posted on Facebook, it is best not to pose for them.  Another good way to keep yourself in check is to "Friend" your Parents, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and so on.  That really makes you think before you hit "Post".

  • smtxc...


    February 8, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    You can also set your privacy settings so no one but your friends, or certain friends, can see certain photos and albums.  It's not that hard.  My future employer has no access to any of my pictures because they're all private.

  • not a...
    -- Nonmember comment from

    not a fb fool

    March 5, 2012 at 11:55 PM
    Well of course. You would have to be a facebook fool to ever have used facebook. It is no longer hip. It is for fools. Those poor suckers caught up in the latest fad while the rest of the world got wise. Students are deleting their pages as much as possible when they find it hard to get jobs. Old folks are trying to delete theirs when they cant get health insurance cos there are stories about their aches and pains. And middle aged drunks are setting themselves up for higher insurance premiums when they next try to renew their insurance AND the Chinese, with their dreadful human rights records are storing all the personal information on Americans - as a strategic military advantage - screening for radicals and anti-chinese thought! With all of that you would think people would just send their pictures by email instead!
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