Flickr Accidentally Deletes Account With 4,000 Photos

Published by: Dave Simmons on 2nd Feb 2011 | View all blogs by Dave Simmons
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Flickr Accidentally Deletes Account With 4,000 Photos

Yahoo's Flickr photo-sharing service has another major PR disaster to deal with. IT architect and Flickr user Mirco Wilhelm was reportedly unable to log-in to his Flickr account of five years on Tuesday, and when he inquired the site's staff about the issue, they informed him that his account had accidentally been deleted, along with the 4,000 photos Wilhelm had stored on it.

Wilhelm had apparently reported another Flickr user last week whose account had “obviously stolen material” on it, but a member of Flickr's staff deleted Wilhelm's account instead of the perpetrator's.  Here is the apology sent to Wilhelm after the error was discovered:

"Hello,
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.
Regards,
Flickr staff"

Wilhelm says that he can replace some of the lost content, but that it will take months, adding that, as a paying customer of the Flickr service, he is pondering further action to seek compensation for his work lost as a result of the mistake.  As for the future and Flickr's ability to avoid this type of mistake moving forward, staffer Zack Sheppard commented on the site's forum:

"We’ve been working on the ability to restore accounts for a while and hope to have it completed early this year.
We have been in contact with Mirco and may be able to restore his account. The partial work that has been done so far may make it possible to retrieve the account. It’s only a maybe but we want to try and do everything we can to rectify this mistake.
Just as people have stated above, we also believe this is an important feature to have in place for cases like this when there was an error. As many of you know we usually do not discuss features before they are released but because of the community concern we wanted to let you know in this case."

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