MySpace loses almost all pre-2016 user data after ‘server migration’

19 Mar 2019

Various social media apps on an iPad screen, including MySpace. Image: tashka2000/Depositphotos

Years of teenage selfies and demo tracks have been wiped from MySpace as a result of a ‘server migration’ that accidentally corrupted the files, the company claims.

Social media MySpace has confirmed that it deleted the bulk of user content uploaded between 2003 and 2015. The company claims that the data was wiped as a result of a “server migration project” that accidentally corrupted the files.

In an email sent to a Reddit user enquiring about streaming issues, MySpace confirmed that there would be “no way to recover the lost data”.

Future Human

Though the site’s music uploads took the biggest hit – an estimated 50m tracks from 14m artists have now been lost – photos and videos uploaded during this time have also been deleted.

This is not the first time reports have emerged of issues accessing music on the platform, as problems with streaming reportedly first arose for people more than a year ago.

Though MySpace has faded into obsolescence over the past decade, it was a linchpin of mid-2000s internet culture. Much of MySpace’s success was cemented by musicians and their fans who flocked to the platform. Many breakout acts from that time – such as Arctic Monkeys, Calvin Harris and Lily Allen – have MySpace to thank for allowing their star to rise.

At its peak, around 2007, the website had 300m registered users. This was a considerable number at the time, though is one now totally overshadowed by the gargantuan user pools of modern social media platforms such as Facebook. Though multiple mitigating factors contributed to MySpace’s decline in popularity, many credit Facebook’s 2008 launch as the most significant nail in the site’s coffin.

Furthermore, not everyone is entirely convinced this data loss was a mere accident. Former Kickstarter CTO Andrew Baio has alleged that the deletion was less an accident and more MySpace’s parent company, Meredith, not wanting to endure the expense of migrating such massive amounts of data.

As The Guardian argues, however, the removal is comparable to data scrubs conducted by Geocities and Google Plus, though the latter two gave users adequate time to salvage data before it was removed.

Whatever the case, the data is now in the ether. Though the news may come as a blow to anyone who neglected to back up their files, others may be grateful that their selfies taken on digital cameras have been scrubbed from the annals of the internet; a sloughing of digital deadweight.

Various social media apps on an iPad screen, including MySpace. Image: tashka2000/Depositphotos

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic