You don’t have to be a celebrity to know that your social media history is little more than a varyingly large albatross around your neck, with every tweet or status update or selfie—no matter how innocuous—being just another drop of fuel for the fire that will eventually destroy you (not all of us can be as lucky as James Gunn). It’s too late for Facebook, since everything you’ve ever posted there has definitely already either been sold to the highest bidder or stolen by the most moderately committed hacker (and Twitter is already a hellscape where nothing should ever be posted), but former social network king Myspace has inadvertently done us all a huge service by accidentally deleting all songs, photos, and videos that were posted on the site from 2003 to 2015.
As reported by BoingBoing, users first began to notice that older links on the site had stopped working a year ago, with Myspace initially saying that it was a bug that would be fixed at some point, but now the site has confirmed that they’re all just... gone. Here’s the official statement from Myspace, directing users to request more information from data protection officer Dr. Jana Jentzsch (who is clearly doing a heck of a job, which we mean without a hint of sarcasm, since deleting everything wholesale is actually a much better way to protect data than whatever open door policy Facebook uses):
As a result of a server migration project, any photos, videos, and audio files you uploaded more than three years ago may no longer be available on or from Myspace. We apologize for the inconvenience and suggest that you retain your back up copies.
This fortunately/unfortunately just applies to about 50 million mp3 files and what is surely an even larger number of photos and videos, which means everything else you posted on the site before Facebook came along and ate its lunch is probably still accessible somehow. Interestingly, this issue popped up a bit in a story posted by this very website a couple years ago about celebrities’ forgotten Myspace pages, many of which were completely broken and unusable. Now we know why!
Anyway, a lot of people are taking this incident as a larger lesson about how we shouldn’t trust sites like Myspace to hold onto everything we post forever, and if there’s something we want to hold onto then we should hold onto it ourselves, but we think that’s more of a silver lining than a serious lesson. People always say that the internet never forgets and that things posted online last forever, but now we know that’s definitely not true. Someday, in a bright and glorious future where the internet has been dismantled or modified into something that is less of a fucking disaster, the dumb and embarrassing stuff we’ve all done or said will be lost in time like… tears posted on Myspace.