Flickr private photos exposed

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How would you react if your personal photos were out in the open for almost three weeks? Well, that is exactly what happened to some users of the popular photo sharing site Flickr.

The photo sharing site has sent emails to affected users saying that some of their private photos were accidentally exposed to the public from 18 January to 7 February, for a total of 20 days. Flickr noted that the photos could only be viewed through direct links and were not available in Flickr search or other search engines such as Google.

Barry Schwartz of Marketing Land was the first to report the glitch. However, Flickr was unable to tell him if someone else had viewed his private photos. A reader commented that his statistic pages could help him determine if someone else saw his private images.

With this, Flickr has changed the settings of those affected so that the links to previously public photos that were later switched to private will no longer function.

This has irked some users who claimed to have been extra cautious when they adjusted their privacy settings. They noted that they will now have to comb through all their photos to see if they are public, private, or friends-only and adjust them accordingly. Another user complained that affected photos have also lost their descriptions.

Although the bug affected photos uploaded from April to December 2012, the issue still poses a major problem, particularly for users with naughty pictures. Brett Wayn, Flickr Vice President, has informed users that the bug has already been “identified and fixed.”