Last week’s episode of True Blood (Season 5, episode 3, “What You Made Me”) had a good example of how Facebook and photos have a tumultuous relationship. No, we’re not above referencing True Blood to make points about privacy.
Bumbling ex-V addict sheriff Andy Bellefleur slept over at the trailer of his new love interest, waitress/witch Holly Cleary, and awoke to her two teenage sons snapping photos of him in the buff. When he walked into work the following day, his, uh, assets were all over Facebook.
Andy’s coworker: “Nice mug shot, sheriff.”Andy: “Is that Facebook?!”
Andy’s coworker: “It IS a real nice picture…I mean, from a photography standpoint.”
He confronted Holly about it, but by then, he was the laughing stock of the town:
Andy: “Have you seen this picture?”
Holly: “On Facebook? Oh, I’m gonna skin those brats alive. I will make sure they take it down before anyone else sees it. ”
Andy: “Facebook already took it down. It don’t matter, though. I could walk down Main street naked, with a bag over my head, and folks would still know it was me.”
Holly: “I’m so sorry…”
Andy: “Ahh, don’t worry about it. In a town like this, people will stop talking about it in 15 years.”
Another interesting note: it’s accurate that Facebook would quickly remove a picture of someone’s naked rear right away. Facebook’s Community Standards “has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and imposes limitations on the display of nudity,” so Andy’s picture was a clear violation. Other types of photos, aren’t so clear. Facebook has been accused of homophobia by removing a photo of two men kissing and saying it was “explicit,” although we’ve all seen hundreds of photos of straight people kissing on Facebook without a problem. Facebook gets over 200 million reports each week about objectionable content. Here’s a complex chart for tracking how Facebook’s “post police” decide what stays up and what comes down.
So whether you live in a tiny town like Bon Temps or a huge city, one thing is certain: a damaging Facebook picture can last forever. Even if you take it off Facebook, anyone could have saved it during the time it was posted. Facebook has its benefits, but unfortunately it can be an amplifier for those photos you’d rather forget. And check out our PrivacyWatch service for expert tips on staying private on Facebook.