Home > Contemplations > Changes Facebook MUST MAKE To Photo Tag Options & Privacy Settings

Changes Facebook MUST MAKE To Photo Tag Options & Privacy Settings

Current Facebook Privacy Options only allow you to set who can SEE tagged photos & videos of you

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.

Event Flyer uploaded & tagged on Facebook as if it was a real photo.

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.

Another Solution

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?

  1. J.R
    January 19, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Love the second solution – that was kicking around in my brain too!

    • January 19, 2011 at 2:03 pm

      Thanks! I am not the most versed in website design but I would imagine the second one would also be easier to implement & would be easier to maintain than the first one. But something MUST be done about this ASAP.

  2. February 11, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    J.R.: I am currently writing an update with new info to this post (it will be up shortly) as I have had the chance to speak to one of Facebook Canada’s Senior Directors during Social Media Week Toronto about these concerns.

    • Oslo
      May 2, 2011 at 11:04 am

      I came her from Google looking for a way to either your first solution or your second, so now I am wondering… did you ever finish writing that update? 🙂

      I was looking all over the privacy settings for a way to control who can tag me, either by making lists or other means (confirmation emails) and I thought I was blind or something untill I came here. I can’t believe they’re not offering it. The Facebook “help” pages suggest I just remove people, but to me that is not a sufficient solution.

      • May 6, 2011 at 10:23 pm

        First off, thanks for the comment.
        In answer to your question:
        Short Answer: It isn’t happening.
        Long Answer: I spoke (IRL) with a person at Facebook Canada and they said it wasn’t in Facebook’s interest to put a stopgap option on the site. The reason for this is because then people lose out on the immediacy of the whole experience which is partially why Facebook is so successful, because it is all instant. I understand the situation from Facebook’s perspective although I don’t really agree with the results (as evidenced by this blog post). I all the more can understand it when I look at it from the perspective of a blogger and someone who comments on blogs. When I comment on a blog, one of the most annoying things I can see is – awaiting moderation – as it means that I cannot leave the page open and click it again in 5-10 minutes to see if/when someone comments back.

    • Oslo
      May 7, 2011 at 12:17 pm

      I can certainly appreciate their perspective as well, and I suppose it isn’t really a big problem but rather a slightly annoying one (for me anyway). I would still have appreciated an option to make a friend list and put them on a “I must approve their tags”-policy but being a software developer/architect myself I also understand that the cost/gain ratio of implementing it is low from Facebook’s perspective (they might even consider it negative gain).

      Oh well, at least now I know that I can stop looking for that setting in the jungle of options they have. Thanks for clearing that up for me 🙂

  1. February 11, 2011 at 10:07 pm
  2. November 14, 2011 at 11:48 pm
  3. May 1, 2013 at 10:48 am

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