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I realised today that I could upload an image into the question box, and copy the web address, and delete the link from the question - and the image remains at that link. In effect, I could use SO as a hosting site, and some people may exploit this, and host less desirable images on the site - without anyone knowing, because they never posted the question.

Example image - uploaded at about 2100 BTC (2000 UTC)

Possibly bug?

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    Yup, I've used this before when I needed to put an image in the comments, since SE uses their own special imgur service. – Seth Jun 22 '14 at 23:01
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SE doesn't sort of doesn't host the images, Imgur does: enter image description here from http://stack.imgur.com/

Also, it may be more likely that it checks if the links are on the SE sites, or how many request for each image there are before deleting them - so as you have linked that image, it may not be deleted.

Edit: From Imgur FAQ:

As long as images are getting at least 1 view every 6 months, they will stick around forever. After that, your image may be removed to create more space for newer images.

I would of thought Imgur would use something like this, as people can often upload pictures and then not link/use them - Imgur have to cope with increasing amounts of images, so they get rid of unneeded ones.

Also, on deleting pics:

From the point of of moderation then, SE mods may be able to log in and request the removal of images.

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I answered this on Meta Stack Exchange at Potential to abuse Imgur?. The short answer is, we don't currently auto-delete, but because we could start doing that at any time, and given that you can get the identical image hosting with a free Imgur account where you would stay in control instead of us, the potential for abuse is low because it just wouldn't make a lot of sense to do it.

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    +1 for mention low potential abuse. – Cammy_the_block Jun 24 '14 at 18:21
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Logic would dictate that stats are being kept for files that are loaded and that files that do not get loaded after x minutes get removed.

  • I would hope so, but it still hasn't gone - I'll update my question with my example image. – Tim Jun 22 '14 at 20:15

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