Flickr accidentally deleted photographer Mirco Wilhelm’s Flickr account yesterday and his 4,000 photos like this, taken over five years just went poof, permanently. Devastating. They did write a nice letter apologizing for mistaking him for an image thief and promised to design a way to reverse future account deletions.

On the bright side, Wilhelm is Internet famous now.

The apology:

Hello,

Unfortunately, I have mixed up the accounts and accidentally deleted yours. I am terribly sorry for this grave error and hope that this mistake can be reconciled. Here is what I can do from here:

I can restore your account, although we will not be able to retrieve your photos. I know that there is a lot of history on your account–again, please accept my apology for my negligence. Once I restore your account, I will add four years of free Pro to make up for my error.

Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do.
Again, I am deeply sorry for this mistake.

Regards,

Flickr staff

And here’s the promise.

Yesterday, Flickr inadvertently deleted a member’s account. 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 currently working hard to try to restore the contents of this user’s account. We are working on a process that would allow us to easily restore deleted accounts and we plan on rolling this functionality out soon.

So, not all hope is lost for Wilhelm… but everyone else is now nervous. There’s got to be a better way than backing everything up or writing down who you’ve been Flickr-flirting with, right?