Facebook Privacy and Your Photos


With all the changes to Facebook Privacy and the new photo viewer, it's hard to tell just who can see your photos and what they can do with them. In this post I will explain what you need to know about the new photo viewer and how people can download and possibly print your photos. I will also outline how to change your Facebook Privacy settings to give you complete control over who sees your photos and what they are allowed to do with them.

The New Photo Viewer

The new photo viewer on Facebook provides users with a very different way to view photos than the old version. When you click on a photo or album, a photo viewer pops up so that looking at someone's photos becomes your main focus. Not only is there a pop up display that grabs your intention, but your profile is also grayed out behind the photo viewer so that all of your attention is on the photo you are looking at. As someone who can easily be distracted by the many ads and links on Facebook that can divert your attention, I personally like the new way to view photos. As with any new change on Facebook, there will always be some people who appreciate the change and others who don't like it or even hate it. Therefore, I think it's best to lay out the facts so that you can form your on opinion as well as make informed decisions about how you want to use Facebook from now on.

Features of the New Photo Viewer

The name of the album and who created it is located under the photo on the left side.

You can "Like" a photo or leave a comment under it.

You can tag, share, download, or report the photo.

You can look through the photos in an album by either clicking on the photo or using the forward and backward arrows.

When you're finished looking at photos, click the white X located in the upper right corner of the photo viewer.

If Someone Can See a Photo They Can Print It Likewise, if you can see a photo you can print it. Each photo has a "Download" or "Download This Photo" button in the lower left corner below it. All you have to do is click on this button and choose the location on your hard drive where you want to download and save the photo. From there you can upload the photo to any online photo printer and get a copy.

While this may seem surprising to some of you, the truth is that even before this "Download" button was made available, anyone that could see a photo could still download and save it by right clicking on the photo and selecting "Save As". They could also print a copy of the photo once it was saved on their hard drive.

You have always been able to download and save a photo from Facebook and then print it, but now Facebook provides a "Download" button to make it easier and more obvious for people who didn't realize it before.

What You Need to Consider First

Before you start worrying about what people may do with your photos, I want you to step back and think for a moment about the chances that someone is going to print a photo that they are just looking at and have no personal interest in (i.e. they are tagged in the photo or were at the event). Unless you are a photographer with interesting photos, then people probably aren't going to want to print your photos. As I said previously, they could also download and print them before Facebook updated the photo viewer.

If you don't want someone to print an embarrassing photo of you such as that crazy photo from spring break, then it's safe to say you don't want them to see it either. Use the guidelines below to change your Privacy Settings.

How to Change Your Facebook Privacy Settings

So as you probably have realized by now, the only way to prevent someone from downloading and printing your photos is to block them from being able to see them. In this section of the post I will outline how to do this.

Photos You Post

Go to "Account" in the upper right corner of Facebook then "Privacy Settings".

Click on "Customize Settings" in blue in the middle of the page.

Beside "Posts by me" under "Things I share" click on the drop down menu where you can choose from Everyone, Friends and Networks, Friends of Friends, Friends Only, and Customize.

If you don't like any of the other options, click on Customize where you can choose to whom to make photos visible and/or who to hide them from.

Photos You Are Tagged In