Privacy questions were raised a few years ago (and by myself) about how Facebook was preventing users’ photos from being completely deleted. Previously when users’ deleted their photos, the URLs would still have been accessible. The main reason for this was that the Facebook photo storage system didn’t delete cached images (caching images on the Web is another problem altogether). This meant that any photos you thought you’d deleted were in fact still on the photo server, in some cases for years.
The Content Delivery Network (CDN) links now have a 30-day maximum age rule which means any photos you delete will be completely removed within the 30 day window. I’ve tested this out to be sure this works. If you were to delete a photo today the direct links expired in 2-3 days. I understand that the 30-day rule has been in place since February of this year (2012).
It’s important to note that when a user deletes photos, it will be removed immediately so no other Facebook users can see them. The 30-day maximum age rule discussed above only applies to the cached images stored on the CDN. I’m a little perplexed right now as to why Facebook cannot delete photos completely (including from cache) within seconds like Twitter for example. Why 30 days Facebook? Ok, so I can hope in vain for a response. 🙂
Note: You are not able to delete a photo if you didn’t upload it.
Safe surfing folks!