This is an oops! of massive magnitude. Flickr accidentally deleted more than four thousand pictures from one user — and they cannot be restored. Mirco Wilhelm — a photoblogger — claims that Flickr mistakenly deleted his entire account along with everything in it. Thankfully, he has the original files stored elsewhere. Imagine how long it’s going to take him to re-upload them to Flickr — or any other photo-sharing site.
Mr. Wilhelm was flabbergasted when he attempted to log in to his account earlier and was asked to create a username. He’s been a premium account holder for more than five years already! He then recalled a support ticket he filed a few days ago, complaining to Flickr about a different user who had posted photos without permission that Mr. Wilhelm had taken. He started to wonder if it were possible that the powers-that-be had accidentally deleted the incorrect account.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. And the response from Flickr is definitely not very satisfying:
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.
A few years’ worth of free Pro service — a mere $24.95 value per year — doesn’t quite seem to make up for a screwup this large. He is understandably a little miffed: “They cannot reactivate anything more that the account itself, leaving me with an empty shell of what I did during the last five years. This would be acceptable if I had a free account. But since I’m a paying customer, I would expect a bit more than an ‘Again, I am deeply sorry for this mistake,'” he writes.
This serves as a good — albeit scary and sad — reminder to all of us: back your stuff up! Shame on the folks behind Flickr for simply deleting an account prior to deactivating it and double-checking their work.