Flickr Deletes 4000 Photos Accidentally — Ooops!!!
Mirco Wilhelm, an avid photographer, learnt the hard way that Flickr accidentally deleted his account and all his photos, 4000 of them, a major fumble from Flickr to say the least. He was shocked to find that his 5-year-old Pro account had completely vanished and was prompted to recreate his username when he tried to log in.
He opened a support ticket a few days before complaining about another user who posted photos he suspected were stolen from him. And Flickr received the ticket but deleted the wrong account. He contacted Flickr asking if they had deleted the wrong account by mistake and received an email stating that they had in fact, deleted all his photos and his account. His followers generated tags and photo captions and all that information was wiped out!!!
Essentially, Flickr accidentally ran the permanent account deletion script on the innocent man rather than the culprit. Oh but wait there is more, they claimed there was nothing they could do!!! All his stuff was gone for good. Feel likes going to the doctor and having the wrong limb amputated by a doctor who comes back and says “sorry but we cut the wrong leg”. Ooooouch, that must hurt big time — specially when you’ve been using the site for years and the photos were all good memories.
Sure they offered an apology and four years of Pro membership as an apologetic gesture, but considering the account cost almost nothing, their apologies does not do the guy justice. Flickr Pro costs $24.95 per year, and Mr. Wilhelm had already received several awards granting him Flickr Pro status through his participation in events and competitions.
Here is the email Flickr sent to him:
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.
The fact that all account deletions at Flickr are permanent and some times without warning is the main reason why I hesitate to store all my images there. This has been a lingering issue but it appears that Flickr has finally decided to address their problem — they’re working on making deletions reversible. Yet, this didnt help Mirco!!
On a post titled “You have to fucking kidding, Yahoo!”, Mirco wrote “They cannot reactivate anything more that the account itself, leaving me with an empty shell of what I did during the last 5 years. This would be acceptable, if I had a free account. But since I’m a paying customer, I would expect a bit more than a ‘Again, I am deeply sorry for this mistake,'”.
Flickr has actually rectified the situation since it appears Mr. Wilhelm’s account is active again. After a few days and perhaps after restoring from tape. But it sucks just going thru this situation.
Flickr is still one the best photo sharing sites available today — mainly because it’s affordable and generates exposure for photographers in a wide community. However, can you imagine if this happens on a site like Facebook??? I really hope you have something in place for these kind of issues. My concern is not on hardware failure or issues but over employee negligence, that is, an honest mistake by a new employee which wipes out all your user data.
Make sure you export your data and back it up just in case this happens to you, no matter how safe you think the site may be!!