Protecting Your Photos Online

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

A close up of a compact=The BBC recently investigated “Twitter bots”, a phenomenon where fake Twitter accounts are set up using people’s real photos without their permission.

So we thought it was a good idea to look into how to look after your photos online and what to do if you find that your photo is being used online without your permission.

How do I protect my photos?

When you set up a profile on social networking sites or on dating sites you will be asked to upload a photo along with your details.

Social networking – On sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn you will have the option to change your settings so that only people who you are connected with can view your photo and details. This will prevent other people who you don’t know from accessing your information and your photos, which they could use to set up fake profiles.

However, if you are using LinkedIn as a way for people to contact you about jobs, you may wish to have an open account. If you choose to leave your account open on LinkedIn or other sites, make sure that you do not use the image elsewhere and try to use a separate email address for the account.

Dating sitesWhen you sign up to a dating site, check that your profile is only visible to other members and is not on an open site. Muddy Matches is a member’s only site and your profile will not be searchable publicly.

Another thing to check for when you sign up for online dating is that the website checks for scammers and spammers though a vetting process. A lot of free sites do not have a vetting process in place and are therefore an attractive option for ‘nasties’.

It’s also important to read the terms and conditions carefully to make sure that a dating company is not sharing your profile on its other dating sites.

At Muddy Matches we vet the profiles by hand to help to protect our members, regardless of whether you are a free member or a subscriber and we are not associated with any other dating websites.

What should I do if my photo is stolen?

If you find that your photo or photos have been used on other websites without your permission, the first thing that you should do is to contact whoever is using the account and ask them to take down your image. To do this, go to the ‘contact us’ section to find their email address.

Another option is to contact the website where you first posted the photo to report that it has been copied without your permission. All the popular social networking sites have a facility for you to report that your photo has been stolen.

Please do not panic unduly, it is rare that people do steal photos; however in the words of Baden-Powell you should always ‘be prepared’!