Flickr user says site deleted 4,000-picture account

The photoblogger says the photo-sharing site accidentally deleted his account (and it can't be restored).

A Flickr user says the site accidentally deleted his account -- with more than 4,000 photos on it - and can't recover it.

Zurich-based photoblogger Mirco Wilhelm (screen name: bindermichi) says the photo-sharing site accidentally deleted his account after he contacted Flickr about a different account that contained stolen materials. Wilhelm says he e-mailed Flickr after the offender added him as a contact, and that he received an e-mail back from Flickr staff stating that "the account will be checked for regulations."

Wilhelm was naturally confused when he tried to log into his Flickr page, only to be presented with a page asking that he create an account. He says he e-mailed Flickr to discover that the site had made a grave error:

"Unfortunately, I have mixed up the accounts and accidentally deleted yours," an e-mail from Flickr reads. Wilhelm says Flickr offered to restore the account -- though it cannot retrieve the photos -- and give him four years of free Flickr Pro service (valued at $100) in compensation.

Flickr has not responded to repeated attempts by PCWorld to confirm Wilhelm's story.

Luckily, Wilhelm wasn't using Flickr as his only means of photo-storing; he has the original files saved elsewhere. However, his photos were linked from other blogs (including Flickr's own blog), as well as his own blog, and reconstructing these links will be time-consuming and, in some cases, practically impossible.

Wilhelm points out that this type of accident is the very reason that many cloud-based services do not immediately delete accounts (rather, they deactivate them first and then reassess).

"In my day job, I actually work as an IT architect. I do designs on complex infrastructures, delivery processes and related stuff. Going from an active account to a deleted account is pretty much a NO-GO in any enterprise environment, because of these consequences. If you do something wrong your can't undo it again, without recreating every single setting from scratch," Wilhelm writes on his blog. "That's why it's VERY common to first ‘DEACTIVATE' accounts and repeat an evaluation... in this case: Me noticing a problem and contacting support to fix it."

It looks like there's not much Flickr or Wilhelm can do about his 4,000 lost photos (see the cached version of his Flickr page here), except, um, prepare better for next time. Meanwhile, all of you out there reading -- do not put all your money on the cloud.

Follow Sarah on Twitter (@geeklil) or on Facebook

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internetsocial networkswebflickr

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?