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Facebook: Photo data loss was temporary

After a sizable number of photographs hosted on the social network disappeared over the weekend, Facebook explains in a blog post it was a temporary hardware problem.

Considering all the horror stories we hear about photos hosted on Facebook and people, you know, losing their jobs over them, maybe this isn't such a bad thing: The social network acknowledged in a blog post on Sunday evening that 10 percent to 15 percent of the billions of photos it hosts were affected by a storage problem, replaced by a question mark.

But they aren't permanently gone, the post by engineer Evan Priestley insisted. "We've already repaired about one-third of affected photos and expect to complete repairs on another third tonight," he explained. "We still have all your photos because we store them in a way that maintains multiple copies of the data in case of hardware failures like this."

The company still isn't quite sure how the outage happened.

"During an otherwise routine software upgrade on Friday night, we ran into some problems with our photo storage and a few of the hard drives where we store photos apparently failed all at once," Priestley wrote. "We're trying to fully understand what happened, since simultaneous hardware failures like this are rare."

Facebook is no stranger to uptime issues, with minor but noticeable outages hitting the social network as recently as two months ago. This one, however, is different in that it specifically affected the photos hosted on the site, leading some members to grow concerned about mass deletions.

If your photos disappeared over the weekend, they are probably back already. But just to be safe--you really should keep a backup on your hard drive. Really.