January 29, 2022
3 mins read

Why you shouldn’t share images on social media without control

woman taking picture using camera
Photo by David Bartus on Pexels.com

Social networks are usually a showcase for them to see who you are. Many times, we share images of ourselves or of friends or family and can be used on other pages or ads to which we have not given permission to reproduce them.

But before we start talking about what you should not do, let’s briefly comment on how images are sought to locate who they belong to. The search for reverse images consists of knowing where an image that is uploaded to a web page has been obtained. We start from an image and using the google images search engine we can get a lot of information about it, in the direction https://www.google.es/imghp?hl=es.

The first step is to click on the search box on an icon in the shape of a photo camera. This icon allows you to add an image.

añadir imagen imágenes google

Once here we choose the option to UPLOAD AN IMAGE > SELECT FILE. Next, we look for the image we just downloaded.

imágenes google

Once the whole process is done, Google images returns the data of that image that it has recognized. There you can find very valuable information. Many pages that offer hacking services usually put images of team members that are fake as Chema Alonso demonstrated in the article hire professional hackers scam.

Images no longer belong to you

When you upload a photograph to a social network you lose control over it. That photograph is hosted on a server owned by the website where you upload that content. If you read the privacy policy of the website we know many pages warn you that this photograph no longer belongs to you. In the terms of Facebook  you can read the following:

You grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sublicensable, royalty-free international license to: host, use, distribute, modify, perform, copy, publicly display or display, and translate any information, data or other content that you provide or provide on your behalf (including through your Service Providers or through your Application) in connection with the Platform (collectively,  “Your Content”), as well as to create derivative works from Your Content, for any business purpose associated with the operation, provision or improvement of the Platform or any other Facebook Product.

The image may be used for commercial purposes

On many occasions a photo you have taken in your private sphere is used by a third party without express consent. Every time you share a photograph online, there is a risk that it could be used by business entities. For example, a Christmas photo of an American family was shown on a Czech billboard without their consent. A family member uploaded the photo to a personal blog and social media, but it ended up on a billboard after a store owner in Prague found it online and used it to advertise his business.

In another example, Alison Chang’s family, who lives in Texas, noticed that Virgin Mobile  took the photo from Flickr, Yahoo Inc.’s popular photo-sharing website, and did not give credit for the name of the photographer who took the photo.

Sharing without permission and viral distribution

Many images shared online can be the result of altered images that without permission are shared and turned into memes. An iconic image of this is the so-called “Success Kid”, an image taken by a photographer to his son and turned into a viral photo.

After the publication of the photograph on Flickr many people modified the image and added their own slogans. The father who uploaded that photograph of his son discovered that the image turned into a meme and appeared on Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook. In this case the father was able to monetize that photograph and even campaigned to fund the father’s kidney transplant, but the child’s face remains on the Internet forever and cannot be erased. Regarding the child and copyright issues, I’m not going to post the image here, but you can find the image and the story behind it on Wikipedia.

The metadata that commits you

If it is already clear to us that we must be careful when we upload a photograph to social networks, it is very useful that if we do the photograph has the least necessary information possible. There is no need for the metadata to contain relevant personal information about you such as the location where you take the photograph.

There are several online tools for deleting metadata. I recommend an application developed by ElevenPaths called FOCA. FOCA is an open source software with which we can extract the metadata of any type of document (text documents, photographs, videos, etc.). You can download it in Windows version for free on its official website.

Internet is not all free

If someone has ever told you that on the internet it is all free and you can download videos, images, files and what you find in it without any commitment on your part is not quite like that. Nothing in the law (copyright or other law) says that you discard your copyright if you post an image on the Internet. Of course, rights may be more difficult to police, but they still belong to the author. Copyright consists of the right to make copies, make derivative works and the rights to distribute, perform and display the work. Therefore, it is important to always investigate what distribution rights an image has, and ignorance of its rights does not give you free rein to publish a photograph without permission of any kind from the author or authors.

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Avelino Dominguez

👨🏻‍🔬 Biologist 👨🏻‍🎓 Teacher 👨🏻‍💻 Technologist 📊 Statistician 🕸 #SEO #SocialNetwork #Web #Data ♟Chess 🐙 Galician

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