When you delete something from the Internet, you’d like to think that it’s gone forever, right? That those pictures of you during those drunken shenanigans are wiped from Facebook’s servers? It’s a well-known Internet fact that the Wayback Machine exists, but Jacqui Cheng at Ars Technica decided to test this last year. She put an innocuous picture of herself on the site and on several other sites and then deleted them. Sixteen months later, Facebook deleted the picture, but only after Ars Technica published an article about how the photo still hadn’t been deleted.
So what does this say? If you have anything embarrassing on Facebook, delete it now. The servers won’t get around to truly deleting it for at least another year. This is particularly important to those college seniors and other job-seekers out there. Better yet, why not just share those ridiculous photos in other ways? You may not necessarily be tech-savvy, but I’m sure you can figure out something. I hear email works nicely.