"These idiots trust me with their personal information..."
December 3, 2010 9:33 PM   Subscribe

I would like a family member to stop uploading photos of me (with my full name "tagged") to public photo sharing sites, particularly Facebook. Although I'm well aware of the many pros and cons of the use of Facebook, I'd like to send them links to three or four well written critiques of the issues related to Facebook's privacy policy and data collection/data retention system.

Without going into excessive detail, an in-law will not desist from uploading photographs containing myself to public sites. They then proceed to 'tag' all the photos with the names of everyone in the photo, whether or not they consented to have their photo on the internet in its full resolution 3600x2400 3MB size.

The person in question is woefully ignorant of the controversy surrounding Facebook's privacy problems. I have a profile, which is set to the most restrictive 'privacy' settings, and have never uploaded a photo of myself to the service. I've also set everything to 'friends' only. My profile is used pretty much for keeping in contact with a couple of people that can't be bothered to use any other IM software, so I use Adium with my facebook login and password to chat with them as if it were any other IM service (google talk, etc). I rarely actually login to the facebook page.

Now there's a couple dozen photos of me with my name tagged. I realize I can manually untag myself but I would rather provide my clueless relative with a metaphorical cluebat of truth regarding Facebook. Can anyone suggest a few good essays?
posted by thewalrus to Society & Culture (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This is not an answer to your question, but you can easily setup Facebook so that photos that you're tagged in are not viewable by anyone.

Account -> Privacy Settings -> Customize Settings

Under "things other share" and for "photos and videos I'm tagged in" edit it to "Only me"
posted by miasma at 9:48 PM on December 3, 2010 [10 favorites]

I doubt sending your in-law "a few good essays" would do much. How about just telling the person that you do not want images tagged with your name?
posted by demiurge at 10:06 PM on December 3, 2010 [11 favorites]

There are a bunch of informative articles referenced in the privacy section of the "Criticism of Facebook" Wikipedia page.
posted by ODiV at 10:13 PM on December 3, 2010

Honestly, if you're not comfortable with people using facebook to link your facebook to facebook photo content, you probably shouldn't have a facebook account. Failing that, set your privacy settings as miasma outlined above. Facebook's privacy policies and their respect for user data is some bullshit for sure, but your family member is using their facebook account in the way that they want to, and if you don't like the rules of the playground, don't play there.
posted by Jairus at 10:34 PM on December 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

I realize I can manually untag myself but I would rather provide my clueless relative with a metaphorical cluebat of truth regarding Facebook.

Consider staging a cluebat duel, winner takes all?

Okay, look, snark aside, you're not going to make your case by trying to convince him that your preferences are Truth and his are Wrong. (Consider the reverse -- would there be any articles that would convince you that the Truth is that you should enjoy Facebook in the same manner than he does?)

I recommend being clear that you're serious, it really bothers you, and you're asking him to quit it and respect your opinion about your own profile. If he keeps tagging you, send him a terse note reminding him to quit it.

If you really don't want to use Facebook except as a chat client, you can remove yourself from searchability and unfriend anyone with whom you don't want to IM. (Of course, then your in-law can enter your name as a text field. Maybe it's better to retain the ability to untag yourself)
posted by desuetude at 10:41 PM on December 3, 2010

I think Facebook is a red herring here. Can't you just say to your relative, "I'm really not comfortable with photographs of myself on the internet. If you must put them up, please don't identify me. Thanks for understanding."
posted by Georgina at 11:01 PM on December 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

If you de-friend your relative, s/he will no longer be able to link photos to your profile. She can write your name under them, but there will be no link to you.
posted by decathecting at 11:28 PM on December 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Stop consenting to photos in the first place if you truly care where your photo will end up. Alternately, start uploading photos of grotesque animals and tag your relative.
posted by thorny at 12:33 AM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

At the end of 2009, photos were being uploaded to Facebook at a rate of 30 billion per year.

Unless you're posing for shots with Jimmy Hoffa, I really don't think that Facebook are going to use your photos to do anything more nefarious than to display some ads at the side of your screen.

I'll gladly grant that Facebook's privacy policy is creepy. However, when virtually everyone and their dog has an account, there's not much point in resisting. What are you afraid that Facebook are going to do with your photos? What possible use of your photos could they devise that wouldn't also immediately expose them to a world of litigation and consumer backlash?
posted by schmod at 12:47 AM on December 4, 2010

Account -> Privacy Settings -> Customize Settings

Under "things other share" and for "photos and videos I'm tagged in" edit it to "Only me"

I am sorry to report that this is not a complete fix. This procedure only disables individuals from seeing photos and videos you're tagged in when they visit YOUR profile. Say you and Jon Smith were both tagged in some of your in-law's photos. Unless Jon Smith's profile is also set to prevent others from viewing photos he is tagged in, anyone visiting Jon's page has the right and ability to view those photos, regardless of YOUR personal privacy setting. Every single person who has been tagged in those photos along with you subsequently has the ability to blow your "cover" if their personal privacy settings are loose and open. (I am also plagued by this problem and almost resorted to reporting the user who keeps uploading highly unflattering photos of me without my permission, but that's not really a viable option as Facebook Inc doesn't really give a hoot about it.)

> Decathecting's comment does offer a workable alternative if you are willing to endure the side effects of defriending a relative. (Ah, Facebook. Making it increasingly impossible to escape from people we don't like since 2004.) Still doesn't remove the pictures from the 'net, though.
posted by patronuscharms at 1:30 AM on December 4, 2010 [3 favorites]

The only way to prevent someone from putting pictures of you online, if they won't respect your request, is to not allow them access to pictures of you.

Also, do an "image" search of your name on google images, and see what turns up. I will pay you $100 if one of the photos tagged by your relative appears.
posted by HuronBob at 3:23 AM on December 4, 2010

I realize I can manually untag myself but I would rather provide my clueless relative with a metaphorical cluebat of truth regarding Facebook

First, there's no reason to suspect he's clueless. He probably knows, vaguely, about FB privacy issues but considers it an acceptable tradeoff. You, by contrast, don't consider it acceptable. There's no reason to turn this into a clash of egos. Simply untag yourself and tell him not to tag you in photos that he uploads. There's a difference between being "the guy with a few eccentricities about his online privacy" and "that anti-facebook gadfly when it comes to his privacy." Telling someone not to tag you in facebook photos is the former. Sending him a bunch of links about the evils of facebook makes you become known as the latter.
posted by deanc at 7:11 AM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you haven't already, I would start by just asking nicely. I might say something like, "I know this might sound weird and paranoid, but I'm VERY protective of my online presence. My privacy is very important to my (career, personal life, principles, whatever, ...) and I'd really appreciate it if you don't tag me in any photos." You might suggest that there's a lot of literature on the implications of online privacy that you'd be happy to share, but I wouldn't send that material unsolicited.
posted by TurkishGolds at 8:11 AM on December 4, 2010

There have been several occasions where I was forced to report pics on other people's pages (they were of my little boy, so it's a bit different). The owner of the page thought I was being silly, so I simply started hitting the "report" button with each pic we were tagged in. FB handled it well, communicated with me about my concerns, deleted the pics and let the page owner know that their account would be disabled if it continued.

It may be different since my son was unable to consent to the photos, I don't really know. But if it bothers you that much, this may be your only recourse. Otherwise, the person just isn't going to listen to you.
posted by Lullen at 8:22 AM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

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