Social media networking is a great way to communicate with friends and make new ones but just how much about yourself do you want to share with the world?
Putting photos on social media sites such as FaceBook, Twitter, Flickr and Google+ is a great way to tell friends and relatives, what you’re doing, where you’ve been and what your plans are, but have you considered the potential consequences of sharing this with the universe?
Any image placed on the web in the public domain is no longer within your control – you can’t delete it, recall it or stop it being copied and reused.
Maybe this doesn’t worry you; in fact you may be flattered to have your pictures used elsewhere, after all they do say all publicity is good publicity.
But would you still be happy if one of your images was stolen and used in an inappropriate way? What about pictures of your children in the bath or playing undressed in the garden, innocently sent to a relative they could so easily be hijacked and end up being used inappropriately or at worst satisfying the perversity of a paedophile ring. A pretty girl’s head cloned onto a pornographic photograph, your face copied and used to deceive someone on a dating site or to represent another person on a business forum.
You’ll probably never know it’s happened and even if a crime has been committed, there is little or nothing you can do to stop the proliferation of the image until the authorities come knocking on your door.
Before becoming a commercial photographer in West Berkshire, I ran a picture library of medical images as part of my job as a medical photographer and remember on one occasion a fully consented and model released image of a woman undergoing breast screening had to be withdrawn because the model’s new boyfriend objected; this couldn’t happen now. In the pre-digital age, a picture could usually be withdrawn from future use; inconvenient and time consuming, yes, but possible, now electronic media has taken this option away for good.
For better or worse as far as pictures on the internet are concerned, the genie is now most definitely, ‘out of the bottle’.
Photographs are wonderful additions to any social network, bringing distant families and friends closer together but never forget there are unscrupulous and devious people with less than honourable ideas who may well find them attractive too.
Privacy settings are there for a reason, make sure you use them or risk your very personal photos being abused.