Facebook changes photography viewer: protect your images

Mark Zuckerberg may have (allegedly) stolen the idea for facebook, but you don't have to let other people steal your images... 

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(screen capture from Facebook)

In addition to the larger image size platform, facebook has introduced an option to click-and-download high resolution images. Though the features will be a boon to many users, privacy is a major concern. Here is why you may want to be worried...

1. Users can zoom in on your features, with high resolution images.
To the delight of facebook creeps everywhere, now anytime you post an image of you and your bikini clad girlfriends from spring break, your friends can download your photos and "closely inspect your vacation assets." Self conscious individuals, may also not be keen of their friends being able to zoom in on their face and see what their wrinkles look like up close.  
2. Users can steal and sell your high resolution images.
Any photograph you share, can now be downloaded, stolen, and sold. This means family photographs of your children may be distributed across the world without your permission. See my article on why you should never put high res photo on the web in the first place.
*3. Facebook never (really) deletes your photographs.
Hey, let's be honest. Do you really think everything you've ever posted isn't saved on a server somewhere at facebook hq? It would only make sense, since the government and law enforcement would inevitably have to use certain images/posts someday in the case of emergency. Thanks to facebook's new feature, those college boozing/schmoozing photographs you deleted might be available in high resolution forever. That means 400 years from now, if my assumption is correct, your ancestors will be checking out your mistakes (you thought you deleted) in ultra high resolution detail. 
Facebook is a great social network utility; however, it's become obvious personal privacy is a thing of the past. The only way to protect yourself (and your photos) is to be smart. Keep your photographs safe from piracy and respect to your privacy, by resizing your images to low res a maximum 700px on the longest side before uploading them to facebook. There are many programs that do this automatically. It's an extra step, but it's worth it if you want to keep your photographs from being abused. 
*note: this fact can't be independently confirmed since facebook keeps that information private.


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  • Really great information! Thanks for sharing.

  • Thanks!

  • I loathe your explanation of DPI. It's complete and total misinformation.

    DPI doesn't matter for web publishing. At all.

    It's a fallacy and any photographer worth his salt should know that. Computers don't think in inches they think in pixels. If you're concerned with sharing images on the web your concern should be a lower total pixel count not the amount of dots per inch. A 1024x768 image is the same size at 1 dpi as it is at 300 dpi. The printer will do the scaling for the destination size dynamically. People who ask for things in "300 dpi" in this day in age are either a.) deliberately over-simplifying b.) working for a print publication / client that doesn't know better or c.) simply don't know what their talking about.

    72 dpi used to be the defacto standard when screens all had the same pixel density. Now that they don't it effectively means nothing.

    Any modern camera from Canon or Nikon defaults to your low res interpolation of 72 dpi. By your logic I guess a 5616 x 3744 shot from my 5D mk II would be safe to post on the web because the computer says it's "72 dpi" right?

    Also, you're wrong about the Facebook never deleting thing. While people should be conscious of what is posted on facebook and protective of it, your explanation is simple FUD based on old terms of service that were changed two years ago.

  • I want to amend myself. DPI DOES matter for print and ONLY for print. But my point still stands. It does nothing to reflect the actual data of the image. It's simply a conversion rate. The total number of pixels is what really matters.

  • DPI and PPI are used interchangeably, though technically they are completely different things. The pixel count is what matters in the end game. The main concern here is that high resolution images can be taken off the web and used for print, in which case high res 300 dpi would apply. Modern cameras do in fact capture images at 72 dpi, however this is irrelevant in the case of this article since in order to print off an image it would have to be converted to 300 dpi. You seemed to have missed the jist of what i'm saying, or failed to read the corresponding links to other articles. Guess what? I am deliberately oversimplifying, and why clients ask for images in terms of 300 dpi vs. 72 dpi. In the real world, where publications need your work I wouldn't go as far as calling people ignorant in that case.

  • Facebook's TOS are notoriously misleading, in fact any viable business would keep photographs on their server in the case of emergency.

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