In what can only be good news for future political candidates — but is definitely bad news for technology company MySpace — it seems the predecessor to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram lost most of what users uploaded to its social media platform before the year 2015.
Millions of photos, videos, original songs, and other content items uploaded to MySpace servers during its heyday are now gone forever, lost in a massive server migration that went horribly wrong, according to a sad admission by MySpace's administration, issued Monday morning.
"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 backup copies. If you would like more information, please contact our data protection officer," read a banner now posted to the top of the MySpace home site.
MySpace, though mostly abandoned by regular users of social media, who migrated to platforms like Facebook and Instagram beginning some time in the early 2000s, still had a dedicated user base — mostly startup bands and independent music acts who used the platform to host and market sound files that would have been expensive to upload elsewhere.
In 2018, some of those users began noticing that music uploaded before 2015 wasn't available any longer. After complaining to the company, users received a vague answer about "issues" needing to be "fixed" with digital uploads completed more than three years prior.
"There is an issue with all songs/videos uploaded over 3 years ago. We are aware of the issue and I have been informed the issue will be fixed, however, there is no exact time frame for when this will be completed. Until this is resolved the option to download is not available. I apologize for the inconvenience this may be causing," the company told its remaining users, without specifying a date for completion.
Eventually, it became clear those uploaded files weren't coming back.
The Guardian reports that MySpace reluctantly admitted a complete loss of files Monday morning, and that the company added that it had no backup of older material hosted on its servers.
"More than 50m tracks from 14 million artists have been lost, including songs that led to the rise of the 'Myspace Generation' cohort of artists, such as Lily Allen, Arctic Monkeys and Yeasayer. As well as music, the site has also accidentally deleted pictures and videos stored on its servers," according to the Guardian.
A few critics seem to believe the "accident" was not, in fact, a mistake, and that MySpace may have simply jettisoned its responsibility for so much dead content on its site when it redesigned its signature platform and moved servers in 2016. The "site makeover" that took place three years ago did away with a great deal of user-supplied content, and at least one tech expert things that might have been just the tip of the iceberg.
"I'm deeply skeptical this was an accident," tech pioneer Andy Baio wrote on Twitter. "Flagrant incompetence may be bad PR, but it still sounds better than 'we can't be bothered with the effort and cost of migrating and hosting 50 million old MP3s.'"
Either way, though, your glittery profile photos and emo poetry is now lost to the Internet ether.