Changes Facebook MUST MAKE To Photo Tag Options & Privacy Settings
In the post “Simple Things About Facebook That Need Changing!” from August 9, 2009 I talked about a number of things centered around the message inbox & events that I thought Facebook needed to change to make their users’ experience more enjoyable. I know Facebook has made changes to the inbox in late 2010 but on my account I do not have the changes implemented yet. However, as far as I know, they have not put into place the changes I suggested a year and a half ago. Either way, I have some more changes that I feel Facebook needs to make and I actually feel even more strongly about these. These changes were relevant when I wrote that first post, I just hadn’t thought of them yet. It is just as well, because I feel that with the new profile pages showcasing the 5 most recently tagged pictures of you at the top this issue has become even more relevant. The content of this post has been banging around my head for a while but over the past week I had a discussion with my friend Jonathan about this and I decided I was finally going to write about it.
The Problem, A Solution, & An Annoying Result Of The Status Quo
People’s profiles on social media sites have become hot topics recently. There have been stories and articles about people caught cheating on schoolwork, people not getting hired, people getting fired from jobs, people being evicted, and even getting caught lying in attempts to avoid national conscription. It is obviously very important to have a handle on the privacy settings and options of our profiles on social media sites like Facebook. One of the major issues I have seen with Facebook specifically is in the options available to us to control pictures and videos being tagged on Facebook. Currently, we are only able to (as shown above) decide who amongst your friends, network, and the general public can see the photos and videos in which you’re tagged. We cannot, however, decide who can actually DO the tagging of us on Facebook. If we are friends with a person on Facebook, they can tag us in any picture or photo or video they please. This is something that must change. Facebook must IMPLEMENT A SETTING ALLOWING USERS CONTROL OVER WHO CAN AND CANNOT TAG THEM in pictures and videos. That is, unless Facebook decides to implement my second suggestion of tag management which I will get to below.
People who have also began to use this to their advantage and most people’s annoyance are promoters and organizers of parties and events. I have begun to notice a trend of being tagged in images of flyers for events where I’m not actually in the picture and it is actually a poster for the event. It’s the new tactic for promoters of parties and events to tag us in their event posters uploaded onto Facebook as opposed to merely inviting us to the event. This serves the purpose of not only getting the information about the event out to us but it also shows up on our Facebook news feeds so everyone else we are friends with sees the event to as it is shows up as a photo that has been tagged of us. An example of this type of tagging I have taken a screenshot of below.
One of the most ironic things about the picture is that the person who posted this event advertisement and tagged all those people so doesn’t want his privacy compromised that he doesn’t have his full name on Facebook. Instead he prefers to remain on the site only identified with the last name “Br” which are the first two letters of his last name. I also chose his name to hover my mouse over to highlight what they are tagging. Cyrille Br is a guy, he is definitely NOT that model.
The other solution is somewhat close to the first one in that it allows more control over who tags you and where you are tagged. This method, however, acts as more of a stopgap to inappropriate tagging than a preventative. Basically, Facebook should allow you to turn on a setting where any time someone tags you in a photo or video on the site YOU GET TO APPROVE IT BEFORE IT GOES PUBLIC.
No longer will you wake up and find out the pictures from the wild party you went to last night have been uploaded to Facebook with you tagged in them and you hurriedly untag them hoping no one you know has seen them. Or, even worse, you wake up and find those same pictures uploaded only in this case 83 people – including your family, co-workers, and superiors – have already commented on them (or even worse, maybe it’s the phone call from your outraged significant other, parent, or grandparent that woke you in the first place).
Personally I like this second solution better than the first as it is just one click solution from the user standpoint and we won’t have to start dividing friends into lists of who can and who cannot tag us. It also means we won’t ever have the problem of thinking we can trust someone not to tag something inappropriate only to find out way too late that we really can’t. Removing them from the ‘trusted’ list at that point wouldn’t really help in the here and now.
Those are my solutions to the problem, what do you think?