How Private is the Download Option?
February 25, 2011 2:35 PM   Subscribe

Does downloading a photo on Facebook leave any indication that you have done so?

I just recently noticed that there is a 'download' option (along with tag, share, and report) on each photo on Facebook. If you download someone else's photo, do they receive any message that you did this? Does anyone have access to this information?
posted by amicamentis to Technology (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Facebook can almost certainly see that you downloaded the photo. In their server logs, they'll most likely see that you clicked on the download tag.
posted by zippy at 2:39 PM on February 25, 2011

Right click the image and saving will leave no evidence from the standpoint of the server that you downloaded. In fact, it's already in your computers cache when you click save, it's simple moving it to whatever folder you wish. Clicking a 'download' link on the webpage itself is likely tracked by Facebook. Right click is the key.
posted by bprater at 2:52 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

No, I don't think the poster of the photo sees that you've downloaded the photo. I do a lot of photography for a local club, and often post my photos to my FB page--a few days later, I see my photos as people's profile pictures. I never see any record of the images having been downloaded.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:54 PM on February 25, 2011

If you really want to leave no trace, and if the quality of the image is not paramount, take a screen grab (ALT + PRTSC) and copy it into your photo editing programme (I'd recommend Irfanview, which is free) then crop the extraneous stuff out to leave just the picture. Save it from there to your HD.
posted by essexjan at 3:13 PM on February 25, 2011

Right click the image and saving

Facebook's new image viewer no longer allows this [at least on my machine running chrome]. It's screenshot or Download link.
posted by chazlarson at 3:36 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Slightly off-topic, but to get out of the new image viewer into the old album format, you just have to refresh the page when the image viewer is showing.
posted by naturalog at 3:38 PM on February 25, 2011 [8 favorites]

chazlarson: You can usually get around that sort of restriction by temporarily disabling Javascript. Unless the new image viewer is Flash-based or something.

Anyway, chiming in with the rest of the voices here: if you're seeing the image on your screen, your computer has already downloaded it. Facebook will have a record of this in their server logs, but that's not accessible by the person whose picture it is.
posted by baf at 3:54 PM on February 25, 2011

You can also just hit F5 to go back to the old-style picture viewing, then right-click and grab the photo.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:57 PM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

Often sites will put the image as a background to a page element that is sized to the same dimensions as the original instead of using the more ubiquitous "IMG" tag in order to stop people from quickly right-clicking and saving to their computer. You can either view the source or use a program like FireBug to reveal the actual image URL.

Anything you download can be tracked if the originating site so desires. I assume since we're talking about Facebook here that they so desire.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:57 PM on February 25, 2011

Answering the first part of the question, no. People won't receive any notification that you've downloaded their photo.
posted by santaliqueur at 6:08 PM on February 25, 2011

Facebook knows, but if it's a regular Facebook account Facebook doesn't tell the owner. (And I can't imagine they ever will.)

However just to be tricky this doesn't hold true for fan pages. Administrators of fan pages can see how many people interact with things on the pages. However they won't know it was you, it could have been any fan. (Unless you're the only fan, then it could only have been you.)
posted by Ookseer at 9:33 PM on February 25, 2011

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