These days every where you go there is someone there pointing their phone in your direction to take a photo. Then they post that photo all over social media without your permission. I’ve had this happen to me with friends and even with complete strangers.
One afternoon I’m scrolling through social media and there’s this picture of my butt! I’m dressed, but in spandex, and thankfully my butt looks kind of attractive in the picture and my waist looks slim, but it was still a shocker. So what if the person taking the picture didn’t identify me, anyone that knows me knows it was me in the picture and that’s still just as invasive. I wasn’t so mad about this one as I have been about others I’ve discovered. In fact, this picture makes me want to hunt down the photographer and beg them to take some real pictures of me because obviously they know how to make me look skinny.
This is a new exposure (pun intended) of your privacy. It is becoming more clear every day that our privacy is no longer something other people respect. If you end up in their shot, that’s just too bad. If the pictures are of a public event, you have no say in how they’re handled. Obviously we aren’t all celebrities with high priced lawyers that can threaten lawsuits, and why should it ever come to that anyway.
What can you do to protect yourself?
- Turn off the tagging feature in Facebook. You can also have tagged photos filed until you have a chance to view them before they’re posted to your profile. But that’s just for your own profile. If the person adds the pictures to their profile, they will still be there.
- Facebook gives you an option to report the picture and you can ask the person that posted it to remove it. Then it’s up to the person to take the picture down.
- You can actually sue Facebook and the person posting the picture if it causes you any kind of harm or damages, such as losing your job or being robbed. If you can prove the pictures were the cause, then you have a case.
- If someone posts pictures of your children then you definitely have a say. In some states it is now illegal for anyone other than the parent to post pictures of children. This is from The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998.
- Communication is your best friend under these circumstances. If you ask nicely, most folks will remove the photo. If they won’t, then you have to learn to deal with it being there.
- When you see someone at a party or gathering pointing their phone in your direction, cover your face or leave the room if you don’t want your picture taken. You can also politely ask them not to photograph you. Hopefully, they’ll comply.
I never point my phone camera at anyone to take a picture unless they know that’s what I’m doing. I know how awful it feels to find that unflattering photo of yourself online, so I’m not interested in perpetuating this kind of unhappiness. It would be great if all of the other shutterbugs out there could find it in their hearts to resist the temptation of taking pictures they don’t have permission to share.