Digital Preservation

The Suicide of MySpace

I promise to press command z. I promise to press command z. I promise to press command z. I promise to press command z. I promise to press command z. I promise to press command z. I promise to press command z. I promise to press command z. I promise to press command z. I promise to press command z.

MySpace has been in decline for a long time, but now they’ve committed suicide spectacularly. It deleted all its users’ blogs without any warning or any recovery option. The fan bases of big stars have been deleted, and they have to start collecting fans all over again. Users are furious.

I warned about this in Files that Last:

Websites let you publish information and let other people read it with very little effort and cost. At the same time, they make it very easy to lose everything. If your hosting site goes out of business or shuts down your account for some spurious reason, everything you put there may be gone.

There were tools for exporting MySpace blogs, and the users who were alert enough to keep an up-to-date export still have their content. It’s safe to assume most users didn’t do this, though. The one alternative they have left is to find a cached version, Google being the most obvious place to go. They should move fast, since caches don’t stay around.

It’s a sad reminder: When you put content on social media, there’s no guarantee it won’t softly and suddenly vanish away. If you care at all about preserving it, keep a copy.

Gary McGath

I'm an independent software developer, recently with the Harvard Library for eight years. My special interests include file formats, digital preservation, and security. I've published an e-book, _Files that Last_, to bring digital preservation to a wider audience.

9 Articles

Filed Under: ,

Leave a Reply