I'm sure plenty of you know the feeling: You wake up after a night of partying a little too hard and the first thing that you think (other than how much you need a glass of water) is "Man, I hope I didn't do anything stupid last night." And beyond that, "man, I hope nobody took a picture of it."
But sure enough, you log on to Facebook to find that one of your less-considerate friends has already posted the shameful photo for all to see. Seriously, that mechanical bull ride seemed like such a good idea at the time...
According to a survey from security firm Sophos, a large majority of Facebook users think that should never happen. 83% say that it's simply common courtesy for someone to ask your permission before posting a photo or video of you on Facebook. And a small percentage feels that it should be a crime if they don't.
Here are the poll results:
It should come as no surprise that a lot of people hate it when an unflattering photo appears on their news feed, but the fact that more than 8 out of 10 people think it's rude to post first, ask later is a little shocking. Apparently, these people have some rather undiscerning friends.
Sophos also reports that some respondents thought that Facebook's policies allow you to remove an unflattering photo at your discretion. In reality, the most that you can do is untag yourself from a photo. Unless the photo in question violates Facebook's Terms of Service (nudity, hate speech, etc.), you're out of luck.
From Facebook's privacy help center:
What if I don’t like a photo I’m tagged in?
Even well-meaning friends sometimes tag you in photos that are unflattering or that you'd rather not share. If you’re not happy with a photo you’re tagged in, you can remove the tag.
Facebook can’t make people remove photos that don’t violate our Statement of Rights and Responsiblities. If you need the escalate the issue, you can:
- Send a message to the person who tagged you asking them to take it down.
- Block the person who tagged you, which removes the tag and prevents him or her from tagging or contacting you on Facebook.
- If the post is abusive, please report it to us.
Indeed, when you click on the option to remove a photo for reasons other than a violation of Facebook policy, you're only greeted with 3 options: Remove the tag, send a message to the poster and ask to remove the photo, or block the user. All of these option allow the photo to remain free-floating in the Facebook-o-verse. In order for Facebook to remove a photo themselves, it has to qualify as spam, pornography, or hate speech OR be graphically violent or involve illegal activities.
Facebook recently changed their tagging settings to allow for an approval notice before anything a user's tagged in appears on their timeline. But this feature isn't turned on by default. Here's how you can enable that:
If you’d like to review posts and photos you're tagged in before they go on your profile (timeline), turn on Profile (Timeline) Review. Click the account menu at the top right of any Facebook page and choose Privacy Settings > Manage How Tags Work > Change Settings > Profile (Timeline) Review.
If you have Profile (Timeline) Review off, then tags from friends are automatically approved. Whether you have Profile (Timeline) Review on or not, tags from nonfriends require your approval before they go on your profile (timeline).
The better the friends you have, the easier all this photo visibility business is. Most people, if asked, would probably remove a photo if you really really wanted them to (unless they were just being dicks for humor's sake). But before you post that funny but slightly embarrassing pic of your friend on Facebook, remember that a large majority of them might get pissed off about it.