Protect Your Privacy on Flickr and Other Photo Sharing Websites
Sharing photos with friends and family is a popular pastime, but in the digital age it doesn’t mean pulling an old photo album off a dusty shelf. Thanks to the rise of social networking and powerful photo-sharing websites, posting photos online has never been simpler.
With affordable digital cameras and abundant access to high-speed Internet, it takes only a few minutes to go from snapping a picture to posting it online for the whole world to see. When you factor in 3G and 4G mobile phones, which not only log on to the Web but also take high-quality images, the process becomes even faster.
Of course, the speed of snapping and sharing photos can be both a blessing and a curse. Though posting photos online is a great way to keep your extended family connected to your life, sharing inappropriate photos online can cause significant damage to your professional reputation.
This article will offer some common sense tips for uploading photos to the Web and will also discuss how to protect your privacy on Flickr.
Think before you click the camera button … and your computer mouse.
Before snapping a photo, you should think about whether the image is something you’ll really want to remember later — and possibly have other people remember later. Protect your privacy on Flickr by exercising discretion. Wild parties are typically not the best venues for photography. If you do take the picture, definitely think long and hard about whether you need to share it on the Web.
The best way to protect your reputation and privacy on photo-sharing websites is simply to be thoughtful about which images you share (and take) in the first place.
Keep private photos from going public.
Though it’s good to be mindful of which images you share online, you shouldn’t have to grapple with yourself every time you want to post a new picture to Flickr or other photo-sharing website. A good rule of thumb is that if you think a photo is safe, but you’d rather not share it with everyone in the world, use the website’s privacy controls to restrict access to the image.
Flickr allows users to set all of their uploaded photos to a default privacy setting. They can also set an individual privacy setting for each picture. If you’ve shared an image from Flickr to your blog or elsewhere, and then decide to limit the visibility settings, the image will no longer be accessible elsewhere on the Web.
There are limitations, however, to using privacy settings on photo-sharing websites. For example, if someone copies and pastes an image that you’ve shared, they’ll still have access to it even if you remove it from your account. Technical glitches and hackers also make privacy settings vulnerable.
What happens if an embarrassing photo ends up online?
Despite your best efforts, a picture you don’t want online might end up there anyway. Depending on the circumstances, you have a few options. If the image was posted to your own account accidentally, you should quickly remove it. If it was posted to someone else’s account, such as a friend’s, you can ask them to remove it.
If a stranger posted the image — or worse, a bully looking to cause trouble — it might be more difficult to have it removed. If the image is sexually suggestive or vulgar, Flickr might remove it at your request. But there’s no guarantee that the website will work with you, nor is it legally required to do so. At this point you might choose to focus on drowning out the negative content with positive content. Protect your privacy on Flickr by exercising what means you have available to you.
Consider mounting a proactive reputation management campaign to prevent the embarrassing photo from ranking highly in search engines. Begin with focusing on developing a positive online brand and developing professional profiles on social networking websites.
Rob Frappier is a community manager for ReputationDefender LLC