Flickr accidentally deleted a photographers account with 5 years of work and 4,000 photos… and they had no backup!

Flickr is an online image hosting website very popular for people to share and embed their photographs online. The service is widely used by bloggers and a variety of social media. Flick was acquired by Yahoo and in September 2010, it was reported to be hosting more than 5 billion images.

Just last month a professional photographer experienced a nightmare. This is what one would clearly call an IT “disaster” to their business. The photographer contacted Flickr when he could not log into his account. They accidentally deleted his account and containing over 5 years of his professional work and 4,000 images!

Quote from Flickr Staff:
“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.”

Flick is apparently working on an “Undo” feature…

And once again you will hear me say… BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP!

Not just at work, but at home as well. How about all those digital pictures everyone takes of their special memories?

These unfortunate circumstances are avoidable. I describe this along with many other Information Technology concerns in my new book.

6 Comments
  1. “Accept my apology”

    That’s the understatement of the year folks. There has to be some sort of legal action this guy can take from their terms and policies. 5 years worth of memories gone down the drain like that. I feel for that individual and truly hope they backed some of the images up themselves, otherwise that’s a lot of priceless photos wiped out forever. It makes me sick to stomach to think if they had photos of say graduation, newborn baby, weddings, etc… Wow, great job Flickr.

    • If only the apology restored people’s lost photographs. I’ve lost photographs due to floods and it’s very frustrating. I hope the people who lost years of memories because of that Flickr accident are given something of value even just to try to make them feel a bit better.

  2. That is just unfortunate. I know the feeling. I backed up my photos on 1 hard drive not thinking it will ever crash, and to my luck it crashed. I lost many memories on that hard drive. Luckily for me I didn’t know my cousin had copied the photos for herself on her computer. I managed to get back most of my photos. For this guy I can only imagine how devastated he may be. This is his life’s work. It’s a shame that Flickr was so negligent. That’s why nowadays I make multiple backups of my files. It’s better to be safe than sorry

  3. It is shocking that a major Internet company like Yahoo would not have had a backup of that photographer’s Flickr account, or at the very least some kind of security measure that would prevent such an accidental deletion. I can’t begin to imagine how devastated the photographer must have felt.

    But again, as you point out in your article, this underscores the importance of having backups. Really we can’t have too many. It is wise to have offline backups as well as redundancy in online backups.

    For my most priceless offline backups I also make sure to keep those files in a fireproof box. These days, I think we can’t be too careful, especially with the extremes of weather we face in so many parts of the world; fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.

  4. This is pretty bad on Flickr’s part, but why didn’t the photographer have any of his own copies? If he just takes a photo and uploads it to Flickr, he isn’t making a backup. He’s just moving the photo to another place. It isn’t a backup unless you have more than 2 copies, and this photographer here should’ve backed up photos himself instead of relying on another company which has no obligation to be a good service. He isn’t paying for it.

  5. My stepdad is a technician and yup, BACK UP BACK UP is pretty much his “hello” and “goodbye” greeting. Important to have many backups, too. Some friends backed all their pictures on an external drive and the drive just… crashed. It stopped working from one day to the next and they had no more copies of it.

Leave a Reply