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Facebook finally gets around to deleting your deleted photos

Social network says it has resolved an issue that allowed photos to continue to be stored on servers sometimes years after they were deleted from users' profiles.

Facebook is finally getting around to deleting those embarrassing photos you thought you had already deleted.

For years, the social network had been unable to remove deleted photos from its servers, meaning that even though such a photo wouldn't be viewable on users' profiles, it would still be accessible on the Web via direct URLs to the image. However, that seems to have been resolved.

Facebook says its new photo-storage systems are in place, allowing for images to be permanently removed from its content delivery network (CDN) in a timely fashion. Images will not stick around on servers any longer than 30 day after users delete them, according to Facebook.

"As a result of work on our policies and infrastructure, we have instituted a 'max-age' of 30 days for our CDN links," Facebook spokesperson Frederic Wolens said in a statement. "However, in some cases the content will expire on the CDN much more quickly, based on a number of factors."

As with before, images will vanish from Facebook pages immediately upon users deleting them, he said.

"To be clear, the photos stop being shown to other users on Facebook immediately when the photo is first deleted by the user," he said. "The 30-day window only applies to the cached images on the CDN."

A test of the new system conducted by Ars Technica showed that photos were removed from servers within two days of deletion.

For those of you who crave a little extra privacy, users will soon be able to use a new browser plug-in and Facebook app called Social Protection to build a DRM-like wall around your photos while still allowing friends to view them. However, it won't be available until the end of the month and then only in public beta form and only for IE8 and above and Firefox 8 and above.