Storing photos on Facebook

Storing all your digital photos only on Facebook? If so, it’s not a very good idea.

In a September 26th article Five myths about Facebook, author David Kirkpatrick writes:

“[Facebook] is the largest service on the Internet by far in terms of hours of use, and it has become the world’s largest repository of photos; its users would be loathe to abandon all those pictures, since many don’t keep copies elsewhere.”

Are you one of those Facebook users?!

I was surprised shocked to learn that many of the more than 500 million active users don’t keep copies of their photos any place other than Facebook. If you’re one of those users, I respectfully suggest that you’re making a mistake.

Never put all your precious eggs, err, photos in one basket.

In 2009, Facebook had a photo storage problem that affected between 10 to 15 percent of already uploaded photos. In a blog post, Facebook informed users that “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.” [note: evidently Facebook has removed the blog post].

On September 23, 2010, Facebook had a two-and-a-half hour outage. According to another blog post, it was the worst outage they had in four years.

Whatever precautions online services like Facebook take to protect data, who knows what might happen in the future? So why store all your photos in one place?

Downloading photos from Facebook

If you don’t have copies of photos you’ve posted on Facebook, you can download them from the Account Settings area. All data will be downloaded, not just photos. But, as a precaution, backup the photos once downloaded.

Do multiple backups of important photos

There are are a number of ways to backup photos including burning them into DVDs or storing on external hard drives or other storage devices. For a relatively low cost annual fee, you can subscribe to any one of a number of online backup services.

There are also numerous other online photo hosting sites where photos can be displayed and stored. Besides backing up my images to an external hard drive, I use three other hosting services besides Facebook for my favorite photos: one charges a nominal monthly fee and the others are free.

If you don’t have copies of photos stored in more than one location, consider doing so before it’s too late.

If it seems like too much of a bother, use a tool such as Pixelpipe. Pixelpipe lets you upload photos, videos, and audio files at one time to more than 100 social networks, photo/video sites, blogs and other online services.

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