Boy holding hand out

For many of us who spend time online, privacy control of our information is a critical issue.  However, understanding our options can be complicated.

In our last blog, we gave you an overview of how to think about privacy on your personal profile and a general explanation about the options available to you with the most recent changes to Facebook personal profiles. To access your privacy controls you want to go to the drop down at the top right of your profile’s home page here:

Today, we’re looking at photo tags to understand your options for privacy control. There are two ways that you can be tagged on Facebook—in pictures and in update posts. Let’s look at what happens when we upload photos to understand what our options are.


Anytime you or someone you know uploads pictures to Facebook, you can be identified in the picture through a tag. As we walk through this process, you will see there are many points at which you get to decide who sees the photos and/or the tags. When you first upload pictures to your profile, this window will open up:

In the drop down you see above you get your first opportunity to control who sees your pictures.  This drop down menu is called the “audience selector.”  The three main choices you have here are public, friends and custom.  Under the custom option will appear specific lists that may already have created to categorize your relationships on Facebook.  It’s not uncommon to have your peeps cross over into several different groups.

Once you choose to create your album, this next window opens up:

Here you have the option to send a direct message to someone and give them access to the link to view your album. This is especially helpful if you have pictures from some family event and want to share the photos with folks who may not be on Facebook. This window also allows you to include more detailed information about the event that you are sharing and where the pictures were taken. It’s in the edit phase that you have the option of tagging folks and identifying specific people in each picture. Only folks who have a Facebook profile can be tagged in pictures.

Once you’ve published your album, you will see this window:

This window is asking you to comment about the pictures in some way. As you can see from the picture above, there is also a “share” option that allows you to notify certain peeps that the album is available for viewing.


What’s important to know at this stage is that the audience selection that you made in the first window above will always prevail over the “share” option that appears here. For example, if you chose to share your pictures with the custom option of “family” in the first window above and then mistakenly chose to “share” your picture with some friends, Facebook will default to your first selection of family and not show the picture in the newsfeed of friends that are not also family members.

It’s also important to understand here that these options only allow you to control who sees YOUR pictures—in their newsfeed and yours. One other caveat: if you’ve tagged folks in your pictures, tagged folks and THEIR friends will see your pictures, in addition to the audience you chose in the audience selector. Therefore one way to keep a tighter control of who sees your pics is to not tag anyone in the pictures you upload.

Next up—Facebook Privacy: Tags and Notices

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Kathi Rabil , Slice CEO, is a Social Media strategist, speaker and coach currently being mentored by Mari Smith. A teacher by training, she loves to share her knowledge and help businesses discover the marketing potential of social media.

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