The potential for abuse in Facebook photo tagging is immense and the results can seriously mar a person’s reputation. Recently practical jokers have started tagging innocent Facebook users in unrelated and indecent photos, causing embarrassing photos labeled with your name to show up in your friends news feeds. Face recognition in Facebook can also be used to reduce your level of privacy and security. A recent study showed how easy it is for anyone to track you down on Facebook with nothing more than a photo of your face (see my previous post). It’s all added up to making me rather nervous about sharing photos on Facebook. There are, however, some simple steps Facebook users can take to protect yourself from photo attacks and embarrassment.
In Facebook Privacy Settings click the link to “Customize settings” and look at the “Things others share” category.
- Change “Photos and videos you’re tagged in” to “Only Me”
- Disable “Suggest photos of me to friends”
- Consider changing “Can see Wall posts by friends” to “Only Me”
- Consider disabling “Friends can check me in to Places”
Look over the other settings to make sure you aren’t unintentionally sharing personal info with strangers.
Back in the Privacy settings, uncheck the box for “Let friends of people tagged in my photos and posts see them.” to insure that you don’t inadvertently embarrass your friends.
Finally, at the bottom of the page under Apps and Websites, I suggest changing the settings so that Apps have no access to any of your personal info or your friends. The biggest abuse of Facebook privacy comes through third-party apps.
After this exercise, you should be able to sleep a little sounder at night.