Flickr Restores Mirco Wilhelm’s 3,400 Lost Photos and Is Really, Really Sorry About That

Flickr has almost nearly restored all of user Mirco Wilhelm’s paid account after a snafu caused more than 3,400 of his photos to be deleted.

Additionally, the company has extended his Pro membership until 2036, for free.

“We are still working to add all of the features, but yes, we are slowly but surely returning his account,” a spokesman for Flickr said in an email, and sent this updated statement:

Yesterday, Flickr mistakenly deleted a member’s account due to human error. Flickr takes user trust very seriously and we, like our users, take great pride in being able to take, post and share photos. Our teams are in touch with the member and are currently working hard to try to restore the contents of his account. In addition, we are providing the member with 25 years of free Flickr Pro membership. We are also actively working on a process that will allow us to easily restore deleted accounts and will roll this functionality out soon.

Originally Flickr told Mr. Wilhelm that his account had been mistakenly deleted after he submitted a support request regarding another user’s account. The representative told Mr. Wilhelm in an email that his photos could not be recovered, and offered several apologies and four years of Flickr Pro service gratis.

That wasn’t enough for the frustrated photographer, who had spent five years building up his Flickr photo sets.

Mr. Wilhelm doesn’t have access to his account yet, but he said it appears that his data will be fully restored. Any links to photos or photos that have been embedded on other sites (including Flickr Germany’s official blog) should be functional again. 

We’re still waiting on an explanation as to why Flickr originally said the photos were irretrievable.

Click here to see some of Mr. Wilhelm’s photos that were deleted by Flickr.

UPDATE: Mr. Wilhelm’s account has been fully restored, although Yahoo did not choose to explain how the mistake happened or why at first Flickr claimed the photos could not be retrieved. It’s unclear whether Flickr had maintained the photos in its database after all or whether it restored them from Yahoo’s cache of the site. Yahoo sent along this revised statement:

Yahoo! is pleased to share that the Flickr team has fully restored a member’s account that was mistakenly deleted yesterday. We regret the human error that led to the mistake and have worked hard to rectify the situation, including reloading the entire photo portfolio and providing the member with 25 years of free Flickr Pro membership. Flickr takes the trust of our members very seriously and we appreciate the patience shown by this member and our community. Flickr will also soon roll out functionality that will allow us to restore deleted accounts more easily in the future.

ajeffries [at] | @adrjeffries