Flickr is great - except when they delete 4,000 of your photos

2 February 2011

Bitterwallet - Flickr logoFor those people who don't like the living bejesus compressed out of their photographs by Facebook, or want a more professional portfolio, Flickr has long been a popular choice.

Accounts are free but limited in functionality - you can only create so many sets of photographs, and there are limits to the amount you can upload to the service every month. For around £16 a year, users can upgrade to Flickr Pro, a service that is widely used by professional photographers and amateur snappers too.

Flickr is not without its problems, however, and staff at the company has just unearthed a major one after seven years; once they delete somebody's photos, they can't get them back. Unfortunately Flickr seemed to have learnt this the hard way, by accidentally deleting over 4,000 images belonging to a European photographer.

When Mirco Wilhelm attempted to log into his five-year old Pro account, he discovered it wasn't there. He then remembered he'd raised a support ticket several days earlier, complaining another account he suspected of lifting photos from other photographers. Flickr had acted a little too swiftly - and deleted Wilhelm's account by mistake.

Wilhelm probably thought it'd be no issue to resurrect his account. Not so, according to the clumsy sod who'd pressed the button at Flickr HQ:

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.

So Flickr offered around £60 of services for deleting five year's worth of work and 4,000 photos. And they said sorry, too. Wilhelm has all his work backed up, but like any significant amount of content on the web, there was a massive amount of additional data attached to his work - comments, groups, contacts, licensing agreements - all of it now gone. Gah.

[New York Observer]

7 comments

  • James D.
    so one employee screwed up, feels bad, said sorry. You can't eliminate human error.
  • fullmoon
    too little compensation for enormous mistake. Deleting someone's 4000 pictures is a absolute no no, especially if they are charging money for the service. If I were photographer I would definitely sue them. This is absolutely outrageous.
  • Larry L.
    @fullmoon, be sure to note > Wilhelm has all his work backed up
  • The B.
    Surely Flickr is really an on-line photo backup service? As such they should have backups of all content shouldn't they?
  • Nob
    Micro Wilhelm. Really? In my opinion Little Willy deserved it for having a stupid name. And a small cock. They probably picked on him because he had a stupid name / small cock. I'm off to phone Peter Nice and ask for Mr P. Nice.
  • Mr S.
    Calm down everyone, Little Billy has got his photos back. http://www.observer.com/2011/tech/flickr-restores-mirco-wilhelms-3400-lost-photos-and-really-really-sorry-about
  • ld
    Er-r, it's Mirco

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment