The idea for this month’s blog came to me when I logged on to Facebook and noticed various people (friends of friends, but not people who I myself am friends with) commenting and "liking” photos I had uploaded. This had me stumped, considering I go to pretty extreme measures to ensure that my Facebook profile is as private as possible, and have specifically set all of my photo albums so that only my friends can see them. After a bit of research I discovered that Facebook has recently changed its privacy settings so that now, any time you tag someone in a photo, not only can the audience you have selected to view the photo see it, but any friends of the person tagged can view and comment on it as well. After a bit more research, I found out that there is no way to change this setting, so you have to just accept that the friends of anyone you tag (or who tag themselves) are privy to your photos. Being the type of person who is uber private, not to mention someone who put off signing up for Facebook for ages for this very reason, I was not impressed!
Although the friends of friends can only see a specific photo if the person they are friends with is tagged in it (and not the rest of the album), since all of my friends tag themselves in all of my albums, it opens up nearly all of my photos to potentially thousands of new viewers, most of whom I don’t know and many of whom I would prefer didn’t have access to my photos. It used to be the case with Facebook that you could turn a setting on that kept your albums private, but allowed friends of people tagged in the photos to see those specific photos – if you so choose. In other words, the choice used to be yours, and this (in my opinion) is how it should have stayed.
I understand the rationale behind wanting these tagged photos to be available to friends of the person tagged – afterall, there’s not much point in tagging yourself if none of your friends can see it. Additionally, the argument could be made that if you’re putting photos up on the internet, you should be prepared to have them seen by anyone. However, one of the only reasons I have Facebook is because, being from Canada, it’s a great way to keep in touch with and follow the lives of my friends and family back home. I put photos up specifically for them to see, not for hundreds of random people I don’t know. Additionally, I’m not usually the one to tag people in photos – they usually tag themselves, which takes the control over who sees my photos even further out of my hands. The only way I’ve found to deter my albums from becoming public property is by enabling a setting that requires my approval on any tags. So I guess there will be a lot of unhappy photo taggers out there...Either this or spend a ton of time sorting my friends into "lists” and then re-assigning which lists can view which albums – a whole lot of hassle if you ask me!
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