People of a certain age will remember being warned of the internet’s horrible permanence as kids, warned to be extra-careful what they posted, because it would be out there for everyone to see for all eternity. And those same people of a certain age will remember the halcyon days before Facebook and Twitter, when the biggest name in the social networking game was Myspace. Chances are, plenty of those people have embarrassing photos and videos they posted to the site that they wish would disappear forever.
Well, those people got their wish. Myspace has lost all content posted to the site before 2016, including more than 50 million songs by 14 million different artists, as well as untold millions of photos and videos. The company attributed the loss to a server migration gone wrong.
“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,” the company said in a statement. “We apologize for the inconvenience.”
Myspace (which, like EW, is owned by Meredith Corporation) was instrumental in the 2000s music scene, helping launch the careers of such artists as Owl City, Lily Allen, Calvin Harris, and Arctic Monkeys. Users began reporting problems accessing music on the site a year ago, but the loss of the content was not confirmed until now. Myspace apparently had no backups of the content, according to The Guardian.
Tech writer Andy Baio questioned the company’s explanation on Twitter, noting, “I’m deeply skeptical this was an accident. 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.’”
Myspace launched in 2003 and became the most visited website in the U.S. in 2006. Its popularity waned following the rise of Facebook, which surpassed it as the most popular social network in 2008. The site currently ranks around number 2,000 in terms of U.S. web traffic. Still, Myspace retained a number of devoted users, many of whom used the site to follow musicians.
Representatives for Myspace have not responded to EW’s request for comment.