The Disadvantages of Sharing Pictures Online
By Scott Cornell
While posting photos on social media sites and other photo sharing sites has become commonplace for many people, there are certain risks associated with it that can come back to bite you. For instance, a simple photo could reveal sensitive information that potential thieves could use to locate you or any of your valuable belongings. There are certain measures you can implement to ensure you better protect yourself from being victimized.
Today's smartphones come with GPS technology. When you upload a photo to Facebook on your smartphone, it will reveal where you're posting it from via geo-tagging. So, if you're posting a picture from the store or from the beach, your Facebook friends -- and perhaps anyone on Facebook, depending on your settings -- will know that you're not home. This can be an open invitation for burglars to break into your home when you're not there.
Aside from the risks associated with geo-tagging from smartphones, there are also more general risks associated with posting photos that you might not realize. For instance, if you take a photo in front of your home, you could be revealing your address. Any photo could reveal a school logo, thereby possibly letting any lurkers know where your children attend school. Such photos can reveal personal information, which can be harmful if it falls into the wrong hands.
Stealing online photos is something that's easy to do with a simple right-click of the computer mouse, and it can happen from any page to which you've uploaded photos. Even if you're using a site on which you can choose to disable downloads, it's still possible for a viewer to take a screen shot. That's why it's always a good idea, especially if you're a photographer or an artist, to stamp any photo you post with a watermark in an area where it can't be easily edited out.
Safe Photo Posting Tips
Despite the numerous disadvantages and risks associated with posting photos online, there are ways to better protect yourself. For instance, when using social media sites, make sure you adjust your settings so that geo-tagging is turned off and so that your profile isn't public. The latter ensures that only your friends will be able to see what you post. Furthermore, go through your friends list and remove anybody that you don't know well.