Facebook Overeach
September 24, 2017 8:06 AM   Subscribe

Why would a scan of a private document containing my social security number that I emailed to my wife wind up in the photos section of her Facebook account? Is Facebook scanning incoming emails for photographs and moving them to Facebook accounts without permission? I have contacted Facebook and am waiting for a reply. Which Federal agency would have responsibility for oversight here? I will be doing all my scanning as PDFs from now on.
posted by Raybun to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
More innocuous: she opened the email attachment on a smartphone, and unintentionally hit save to photos, adding it to her smartphone photo stream. She then uploaded all the photos from day X-Y to Facebook without realizing this was in there.
posted by deludingmyself at 8:10 AM on September 24, 2017 [13 favorites]

Because she accidentally uploaded it from some device, no doubt by accident? She should make sure she’s not automatically uploading anything.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:11 AM on September 24, 2017 [9 favorites]

There may be various ways this could happen, but if the photo ended up in a photo library, facebook on mobile semi-aggressively tries to get you to post your photos by showing you previews, and at that point it might just take one or two mistaps to do it. (In fact, are you 100% sure it is really in her account, as opposed to a facebook app showing her a non-public preview of the result of posting it?)
posted by advil at 8:11 AM on September 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Did your wife open the image (from your phrasing I assume it's an image file) and save it on mobile? Recently I've been getting a dialog when I open the app, "here are the recent photos you've taken, do you want to upload any?". It could be you're seeing that dialog, or maybe she accidentally uploaded from there.
posted by btfreek at 8:13 AM on September 24, 2017 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Are you sure it's actually on Facebook? Like view your wife's Facebook profile from another device, is the image there? The facebook app on the phone will offer you the chance to upload images to Facebook from the main screen, which shows a thumbnail of the images -- this is akin to an "open file" dialog box from the phone and is not proof the image has been uploaded to the internet. It only proves the image has been saved to the phone and is accessible to the Facebook app (and any other app on her phone), not that it has been uploaded anywhere on the internet.
posted by AzraelBrown at 8:17 AM on September 24, 2017 [7 favorites]

Facebook messenger does a lot of fun things like scanning your phone for images if it has the necessary permissions, so as others are saying, it's pretty easy for this to accidentally happen from any device with the facebook app. Google photos does something similar if you're on Android, although they're only in the photos app on your phone unless you have syncing/backup enabled.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:33 AM on September 24, 2017

Response by poster: AzrealBrown; Both a smartphone and a Kindle Fire are used to open emails. You just described what seemed to have happened. She saw it on her account on the Kindle but may have opened it with the Smartphone.

It was not on her account when opened on Facebook.

btfreek: I scan in jpg format. PDF will be used from now on for sensitive stuff.

Thank you all for the help.
posted by Raybun at 9:29 AM on September 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: On the phone app, she should be able to dismiss the line of photos across the top so that this doesn't appear in future. It's given me near-heart attacks a couple of times when I've seen things appearing as if they've been posted to facebook and only after a second realised that they're the "Do you want to post one of these?" box. I can't remember how I disabled it, but there'll be a dropdown somewhere near that line of photos that will enable her to switch it off.
posted by penguin pie at 11:05 AM on September 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

« Older I'd just like to be drunk on a beach, please.   |   Help me find an old Onion article Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.