Facebook’s News Feed Is All About Photos — Here’s How to Protect Yours


newsfeedFacebook is now rolling out a new version of its news feed that will take the look of its mobile app and put it on the web. You can get a nice sample of what it will look like and sign up to be one of the first people to get yours here.

But before you do, now is an excellent time to think about something that’s going to be a much bigger issue soon — your photo privacy. The new newsfeed is all about highlight photos and making them easier to share.

In a recent survey of Facebook users, we found out that 1 out 5 have had a picture of piece of content posted on Facebook reused without their permission*.

This is why it’s important to remember the key rule of Facebook privacy: Nearly anything you share on Facebook can be reshared by your friends — no matter how locked down your privacy settings are. You do technically own the content you post on Facebook, meaning Facebook probably won’t claim control of your content (even though its terms and conditions suggest it might be able to.)

But once you post anything on a social network, you’re basically setting it free in the world.

There are also a few key things about photos that many Facebook users are not aware of, though they are listed in Facebook’s privacy help pages:

  • The privacy setting for your Cover Photos album is always public.
  • If there’s a photo of you in an album that someone else posted, only the person who posted it can change the album privacy. If you don’t like the photo, you can remove a tag or escalate the issue.
  • If you share a high resolution photo or album with someone, that person will be able to download those photos.
  • Unlike other photo albums you create, you can choose an audience for individual photos in your Timeline Photos and Mobile Uploads albums. Each time you post a new photo, you pick who sees that photo using the audience selector.
You can always change the privacy setting of any individual album or photo by adjusting the icon. If you want to avoid your friends seeing an embarrassing photo of you that you didn’t post but were tagged in before you do, be sure to use the “Activity Log.” Here’s how:

You can get to your activity log from your privacy shortcuts:

  1. Click your privacy shortcuts in the upper-right corner of the page and select Who can see my stuff?
  2. Click Use Activity Log.

Note: Only you can see your activity log. However, stories in your activity log may appear other places on Facebook, like on your timeline, in search or in your friends’ News Feeds.


*Based on a survey of 495 Internet users contacted in December 2- 31 2012 through Facebook, Twitter and the F-Secure Safe and Savvy blog and conducted through Surveygizmo.

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