That Photo Was Private

Zuckerburg made headlines today, but it wasn’t Mark we are reading about. His sister Randi caused a viral storm without realizing it after posting a family photo on her Facebook account. This poses an interesting question about the privacy policies in regards to Facebook photo posting. Are Facebook’s privacy settings confusing? Facebook undergoes a lot of changes and the privacy settings are no stranger to the updates. There are privacy loopholes that users, including Randi Zuckerburg, have fallen victim too.

Randi posted a family photo from Christmas of the Zuckerburg’s to her Facebook account. She was under the impression that the family photo was only viewable by her friends. She had tagged people in the photo which then, by default, made the picture appear in those peoples’ timelines. A lot of Facebook users’ do this with pictures they post of friends. Once you tag someone and the picture is posted on their timeline, the image is no longer private especially if the user doesn’t use privacy settings. This is what happened in Randi’s case. A friend of the person she tagged was able to view the photo, and she posted it to her Twitter account (of which she has 40,000 followers).

Randi tweeted at the user and was furious that her private photo went public. A few tweets were exchanged and deleted…however we all know once a tweet is seen it isn’t always deleted permanently especially when people use third party applications such as Tweetdeck. The story of the private family photo and the image itself went viral.

If a Facebook employee doesn’t even understand the privacy settings, how is the average user viewing these settings as well? Are the privacy settings too confusing? I wonder if there will be another Facebook update after this photo fiasco.

This controversy isn’t just happening on Facebook. Instagram is also under pressure from its users about picture privacy guidelines. If you post pictures to a social network, who really owns the rights to the pictures? Privacy policy should be clear for all users to comprehend. As a user of different social networks, it is important to take your own precautions. Especially in regards to private messages, status updates, and pictures. Once something is posted online, it is there forever. Not only should private users take precautions, but this is an important lesson for corporations to follow as well.

About the Author: Krystle Green is the Vice President of ArteWorks SEO, a full service search engine optimization company located in Austin, TX. For more information about social media, SEM, or SEO Austin please visit http://www.arteworks.biz.