Do you Facebook? I usually love it, but lately, things have been getting a bit weird for me.
First, there was drama regarding Facebook and your pictures being used in Facebook ads. Facebook claims it was a mistake or a rumor, but you can’t mistake the picture in this article, third party or not. They even went as far as to how to remedy the issue on the Facebook Blog.
Then, last week, some update caused my Twitter updates to post to my Facebook feed without my enabling them to. In fact, I never linked my Twitter to my Facebook before, but nonetheless, I had to block it so that it would stop posting.
But today takes the cake. I notice this at the bottom of my photo albums’ page:
Not too pleased at this new discovery, I went to my privacy settings to confirm that I wasn’t sharing my photos with the public.
Indeed I verified what I already knew to be true. With that confirmed, I went back to my album, clicked on my son’s picture, and copied the public link at the bottom of the pictures page (yes, each picture has it’s own public link, as well as each album, too).
I logged out of Facebook, pasted the link in my browser, and lo and behold, look what I discovered…
See that? Your picture is available via a “public” link, yet you ask in your privacy settings that only your Facebook friends view it. Nice, huh? Especially after Danielle’s stolen picture issue, I don’t take photo safety lightly anymore.
Wanting some answers, I clicked on over to their Help Center, which was a joke, actually. Immediately upon entering this popped up, reminding me that my photos were “safe”:
Worried about privacy? Your photos are safe.There have been misleading rumors recently about the use of your photos in ads. Don’t believe them. These rumors were related to third-party applications, and not ads shown by Facebook. Get the whole story at the Facebook Blog, or check out the Help Center.
Found their “answer” to my issue on their help page.
Let me repeat what it says there:
“Remember, this link will always work, even if you add photos or change your album privacy settings.”
Um, say what?
So, regardless of recent issues and photo privacy, and regardless of your choosing your settings to only allow friends actually on Facebook to view your photos, they give you a link to your photos or albums which can be accessible to anyone without a Facebook account. And you can’t opt out of it.
Why would someone want to share a picture on Facebook online with another person online when they could just as easily email it? Once that link is shared, according to Facebook, there is no going back, that non-Facebook person can bookmark it and spread that link freely, at-will, to others you don’t have control over. How do you know where it ends up? Will these links be indexed and searchable by Google, too, like our profiles?
Another thing – accounts get hacked all the time. If these links are only visible by the account-holder, then the hacker has access to them when he/she gets into your account. At that point, he/she can copy and save, bookmarking your album link, which, according to Facebook, can’t be disabled.
Do you know what else I noticed? You can now right-click on the picture, too. I don’t believe you could do that before (and I may be wrong, here).
Anyone else not feeling the warm-fuzzies over this?
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