Social Media and More

Creating Personalities and Brands on the Web

Confused About Facebook’s Photo Sharing and Privacy Settings?

Facebook Photos - Julie SpiraIt seems that sharing photos on Facebook replaced baseball as the favorite pastime for digital enthusiasts. When Instagram came on the scene, celebrities embraced the photo-sharing site and Facebook grabbed it for $1billion.

Our love affair with Facebook started to wane with the multiple and confusing changes to their privacy settings. Even social media experts like myself had to study each change in detail to be able to explain it to my clients and to use it properly without offending others.

Then the big netiquette no-no happened. Mark Zuckerberg’s sister Randi posted what she thought was a private photo on Facebook, which appeared in a stranger’s tweet on Twitter. One can easily wonder how this can happen and not know the answer. Even Zuckerberg wasn’t sure why, but her public twitter engagement with @cschweitz clearly broke the rules of netiquette.

Sure when we’re upset we post before we think. Most don’t know that the Library of Congress now indexes tweets, permanently.

According to the New York Post, Zuckerberg’s older sister, Randi, complained yesterday when one of her Twitter followers publicly posted a photo of the family, including her famous brother, standing in the kitchen reacting to the company’s new Poke app.

“Not sure where you got this photo,” Randi tweeted in response @cschweitz. “I posted it only to friends on FB. You reposting it on Twitter is way uncool.”

When Garret Sloane from the New York Post called me to discuss this story that was going viral, I explained that we create a permanent digital footprint every time we post an update, photo, video, or tag people in photos, whether they appear in them or not.

I’ve always had a digital rule of thumb that when I snap a photo of someone else or a group at a party, I stop and show them the photo and ask if I can have their permission to post the photo to Facebook. If you’re automating your Facebook feed to Twitter, it’s there for the entire world-wide-web to see, even if your Facebook privacy settings are set to “friends only.”

Another rule of netiquette is to take your digital beefs privately. If you have something to say that isn’t flattering or is attacking another, send them a private message on Twitter if they’re following you. If you need to respond, do so privately and request that they follow you as well if they’re not.

“I’m just your subscriber and this was top of my newsfeed. Genuinely sorry but it came up in my feed and seemed public,” Schweitzer responded to Randi.

“Digital etiquette: always ask permission before posting a friend’s photo publicly. It’s not about privacy settings, it’s about human decency,” Randi admonished in a tweet after the photo was removed.

As I told the New York Post, social media is about: sharing experiences. If you post something on the Internet, it will be shared by strangers.

Unfortunately, we’re learning the lessons the hard way, especially when Facebook keeps changing the rules.

Julie Spira is a social media strategist and netiquette expert who writes about digital etiquette and intersection of love and technology.  Julie’s the author of the “The Rules of Netiquette: How to Mind Your Manners on the Web” and CEO of Social Media and More.

To connect with Julie, visit RulesofNetiquette.com, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and at Facebook.com/RulesofNetiquette.

Photo Credit – maigi – Fotolia.com


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