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Posting photos of friends can get dicey

Well it's another Tuesday, meaning another Poked question answered! This question came in from a non-Facebooker about posting photos:

Q: I recently had lunch with an old acquaintance from high school. She took some pictures of me at lunch and when she sent them to me, I noticed it was from her Facebook page. (She created a photo album of her lunch with me and posted it.) I didn't give her permission to post my picture in this way and I don't like it.

Also, I have heard from some other people that several of these old high school ''friends'' have pictures of me on their pages -- some not flattering. I would like to know what are my rights regarding my image and who can use it without my permission? Or do you think I'm being too uptight? I do not have a Facebook profile nor do I want one.

A: The short answer to your question is, because the photos were taken in a public place, you don't have any rights to them. We checked with Holland & Knight lawyer Sandy Bohrer, who pointed out that in a public place, anyone can take your photograph.

He also made a good point: "I would assume if you went to lunch with an old friend, and they took your photograph, that they would share it with family and friends."

Facebook is the modern-day way to share those pictures, which, by the way, are only accessible to people on Facebook who are authorized to see it. That's usually people's network, friends and friends of friends.

Now, that doesn't stop you from e-mailing that old friend and asking her to take those pictures down. Something along the lines of, "Thanks for showing me those pictures, but I'm really not comfortable having them on Facebook, since I'm not on there. Would you mind taking them down?" should suffice.

It's fine not to have or want a Facebook profile -- but many people do. That means assuming that if people take your picture, it has a good chance of ending up online, so if you don't want it there, make sure you speak up.

Another tip: Why not create a bare-bones Facebook account so you can monitor all these things yourself? At least that way, you can post pictures of yourself that you do like!

Send us your ugly pictures from high school and we'll post them to our blog. If you share yours, we'll share ours. As always, non-Facebookers and social media geeks are welcome to send questions of netiquette to poked@miamiherald.com.


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