5 Ways to Combat Unwanted Photos on Facebook
It's happened to lots of parents. You're on Facebook, and suddenly you see a photo of your kid doing something you really wish he hadn't. Or maybe your kid tells you that there's an incriminating photo of himself on a friend's Facebook page that the friend won't take down. What can you do to get your kid's pictures offline?
Tagging a photo means that you identify the people in the picture. When someone posts and tags a photo of your kid, it links the photo to his Facebook page. If photos of your kid are tagged, they are searchable online if the poster's profile is public. (Learn more about Facebook.)
To the dismay of parents and kids who have had this experience, there's not a lot that can be done when someone posts a photo of you and tags it with your or your kid's name. Facebook can't force people to take down a photo.
But you have some recourse. First, talk to the person who posted the photo and ask them politely to take it down. Explain that you feel it compromises your child's safety and privacy, and just makes you (and/or your kid) uncomfortable. Try to keep the conversation respectful.
If that doesn't work, try these tips:
1. Untag it. f you're tagged in a photo, just remove the tag next to your name (you'll find the link underneath the photo). The photo will still be live on the poster's page, but it will be unlinked from your profile. Remember that only the owner of the photo and the tagged user can remove a tag.
2. Unfriend the person. You can only tag your friends. If you're not friends with the person who uploaded the photo, their profile won't link to yours, and they can no longer tag you in photos.
3. Catch it early. Set your notifications so that you are alerted when someone tags you or one of your photos. Go to the Notifications tab on the Account Settings page to set it.
4. Report it. Photos containing drug use, nudity, sexually suggestive images, and violence against an individual or group violate Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Click the Report This Photo link underneath the image, and Facebook will take it down if it violates their policy.
5. Wisk-it. An app called Wisk-it (which you can find on Facebook and download) lets you find all tagged photos of a user and sends a request to the poster asking them to "wisk" away an image. It requires the original poster to install the program and "scrub" away the person's face.
This problem isn't confined to Facebook, of course. A photo of your kid could wind up on any online photo-sharing site -- Flickr, Snapfish, Kodak Gallery, and Picasa -- to name a few. And while these sites tend to offer very robust privacy settings, any photo that's on the web could potentially get forwarded to a public site or be searchable on any major search engine.
Talk to your kids about protecting their privacy, as well as their friends'. If your kid doesn't want embarrassing photos of himself on someone else's page, he shouldn't post embarrassing photos of his friends either. Learning to respect other people's privacy is one of the keys to responsible online behavior. See our tips for more ways to promote good citizenship in cyberspace.