Twitpic to vanish, taking 800 million images with it

If you ever run across an old hard drive you haven’t cleaned off, you might try hooking it up some time and looking at your old browser cache. I found some interesting stuff (all clean, I swear!), old pictures, old CNN pages, and much of it still rendered.

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Let’s see… a picture is worth a thousand words, 800 million pictures…

Omg, guys, we are going to lose 800 billion words!!! How are we going to communicate with what is left?

I think there’s some legitimate reasons to be reluctant to allow 3rd parties to take over the data. Internet Archive may be a great org, but the users did not license wih them in the first place. And who knows what they’ll do with the images.

What we really need is a Corporate Last Will and Testament that says, essentially, a company that is selling or shuttering shall give notice to users and give them a reasonable amount of time to get their data off in some sort of open source archive format, or give them he option to opt-out of the service and have all their data deleted.

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If there is a community effort, I will volunteer to archive the naked ones.

As someone who just spent several thousand on a laptop hard drive data recovery for someone close to me…I can say apparently they can’t. So now I use bitsync and have copies of critical data in multiple places.

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That’s it! When a part of the Cloud dies, they just need to spin it as a Sunny Day. Who doesn’t like Sunny Days?


It’s what lead to Indiana Jones almost unleasing the Arc of the Covenant upon the world and nearly handing the Holy Grail to the Nazis.

Ooh boy, welcome to SQUARESVILLE… :bowtie:

My site was in Area 51, with the cool kids.

Hmmm, guess you don’t watch John Oliver.

Yes, thanks. I’ll look into that to see if there’s a quick way of reviving dead links from that.

It’s not so much the loss of material (which was straightforward enough to recover at the time) but the invalidity of the links in other, non-posterous, blogs to pics held on posterous machinery in articles cross-posted (by posterous, it was good at that sort of thing) to those other blogs. So there are oodles of - e.g., wordpress - blogs which have now been removed from google search results because of those dead links. It was, and is, a reasonable policy for google to adopt, but the devastation wasn’t something individual humans posting to multiple blogs, could reasonably keep up with.

Unfortunately that’s not enough when you have other sites linking to that material. You’re left with the chore of editing all of those other references so that they point to your new hosting, if any. You may not choose to bother, but if you don’t then you need to bear in mind that entire sites with significant numbers of dead links get removed from search engine results. Being kicked out of find-me-land because somebody else failed is not nice. It’s why the cloud has to be constructed from something a bit stronger than fluffed cotton.

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True, some connections are going to be lost. But there are technical ways around some of that. Other problems are unavoidable just due to the nature of the Internet, which is why no one should ever be in a position to trust their data (network, connections, pics, whatever) to third party services. There is an initiative (that I can’t remember the name of) that I think Tantek Celik was involved in to essentially post everything twice - once on third party services and then copied to your own url. Obviously most consumers are not doing that and would never think to do it, which is why it’s better if we could bake that Last Will model in to more businesses.

So to remove their images, a user has to read through a long, dense, legalese webpage. That page mentions removal exactly once, and all it says is “see our removal policy”, to which there is no link.

Ok, let’s google how to remove things from Right, I have to add something to my robots.txt file. I have no idea what that means. Presumably only can do that, and it will remove all 800 million images again, not just mine.

Aha, a link for if I can’t add to robots.txt. Great, another legalese document, which I can’t really follow. As far as I understand it, if I can prove I own my photos they will decide themselves on a case by case basis whether they feel like removing them. There’s no automated process for it, I have to write an email to a general enquiries email address and hope they do as I ask. I possibly have to draft a properly formatted DMCA removal request, I’m not sure.

Let’s face it, this is as close to “you can’t remove it” as you can get while still making it technically possible.

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The same thing happened to me with two sites that are still up and running but they randomly decided to remove all of my videos. and changed there policies and did not notify me. Hours of video that is cross linked on dozens of sites disappeared.

Thought: Mandate (or at least make it easier to do than not to do by the SDKs and APIs) that the posting URLs in apps can be user-provided, and have services that can multipost from a single upload, including to your own personal storage(s).

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All of them? Cos some of them, well, rather you than me…

It may be the point of the Globe & Mail article, but BB is the one making a comparison to pre-internet businesses. It’s not a very fruitful analogy.

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What I find interesting is that Noah Everett, founder of Twitpic, has been refusing to talk to the Archive Team about the issue, and Twitpic is blocking archive team members from downloading.

Meanwhile, Everett is launching a new startup called Pingly which is “a new messaging platform working to evolve email”.

Now, who the hell would trust this guy with their e-mail? Does he not see that there’s a bit of a problem there?


Thought: A reputational database of enterpreneurs, how they treat their user base in case of enterprise failure. So you can afford to screw your users this way only once, and then you won’t get any users in the future.

Mac the Knife does, but I’m not sure that’s the reference I was meant to get.