Flickr Fans Fret Over Lost F(ph)otos

Posted by: Chelsey Orlando

Flickr's home logo. Pulled for educational and journalistic purposes from

Love looking at all those pictures you’ve collected over the years? Yes. Who doesn’t? Well hopefully you aren’t using the online photo sharing and hosting site, Flickr to store those memories.

Once raved as innovative, this child-site of Yahoo! has been hosting users photos for years now.  But what happens when a Flickr employee accidentally deletes all of your memories?

Earlier this week this exact thing happened to Flickr user, Micro Wilhelm. After contacting Flickr about another users account that was full of stolen photos, a Flickr no-no. The Flickr employee accidentally deleted Wilhelm’s 5-year old, 4,000 photo full account. Outraged by the petty email he received from the Flickr employee, Wilhelm voiced his anger through his blog where he also posted said email.

According to Laurie Segall’s article where she gathered some of the email information from Flickr to Wilhelm said, “Unfortunately, I have mixed up the accounts and accidentally deleted yours. I am terribly sorry for this grave error,” the Flickr staff member wrote in an e-mail response to Wilhelm’s inquiry about his vanished account. “I can restore your account, although we will not be able to retrieve your photos.”

It is unbelievable that a site of this magnitude doesn’t have a back up system where they are able to restore users photographs.  While Yahoo! says they are working on it, it’s not enough for the current users now.  According to Segall’s article other users are quite outraged and believe that there should definitely be a way to retrieve photo’s in other cases such as this.

So, Yahoo! offered Wilhelm 25 years of free Flickr use, but why should he stay with them? Not only are there other photosharing sites out there but that won’t replace any of the photos he lost.

Would you continue using Flickr if this happened to you? Even if it didn’t happen to you but you heard about this? Do you think Wilhelm is overreacting? Or are Yahoo! and Flickr not offering the right amount of compensation (so to say) for their mishap?


3 responses to “Flickr Fans Fret Over Lost F(ph)otos

  1. I would probably continue using Flickr if something of this nature happened to me. Yes, it was Flickr’s fault for deleting the photos, but coming from a fellow photographer, you would be stupid to not back up your files. If I’ve learned anything from being a photojournalist in the digital age, it’s that technology fails. A lot.

    I also think it’s interesting how customer service is changing these days. If a company blows you off, everyone has a very public, very loud way to complain about it with social media. If someone blogs, tweets or updates their Facebook about a bad experience with a company, you can bet that will shape their friends and followers opinions. I doubt he would have gotten the 25 years of free service if he hadn’t blogged about it.

    Something similar happened with United Airlines. They didn’t take care of an angry customer, and now he has a hit song bashing them. I bet those employees are regretting showing “complete indifference” by now.

  2. Christy Wittmer

    The only way I can relate to this would be if it were my stories I was posting, assuming I don’t have them backed up anywhere else (but that would be kinda stupid)

    So I guess I’m split in many areas here.

    -I would be beyond mad to find that in all their lovelyness, they merely send out a “so sorry for your photographic loss. Here is a free membership so you can stay with us even though we have screwed you beyond recognition.”
    -I hope he has them backed up because that would be really dumb on his account.
    -Flickr, time for you to go work on some backup issues.

    It will be interesting to see where Flickr goes from here with this PR nightmare. Let’s see what happens next.

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