It's Zuck's World We're Just Living In It

Facebook Won’t Take Down a Photo Just Because It Makes You Look Fat, But It Does Try to Guilt the Poster

screen shot 2012 01 05 at 9 32 11 am Facebook Wont Take Down a Photo Just Because It Makes You Look Fat, But It Does Try to Guilt the PosterIf you’ve never met a human before, it might surprise you to learn that the majority of Facebook photos flagged “offensive” are actually just unflattering, says AllThingsD. (Curated online personalities demand curated photo sets, people!) However, Facebook relies on that little “Report/Remove Tag” button below every photo as a policing strategy to manage the deluge of more than 250 million photos uploaded per day.

Thus in August, Facebook added new options to its photo reporting box including, “I don’t like this photo of me,” “It’s harassing me” and “It’s harassing a friend.” Since you don’t actually own the rights of a picture someone takes of you (awkward!), checking one of these boxes won’t get the photo taken down.

Rather, as Facebook engineering director Arturo Bejar told NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” this week, those new complaint options in the reporting tool were designed to trigger compassion from the photo posters.

According to AllThingsD:

“On the radio show, Bejar got questions from people with various reasons for wanting photos to be taken down. One woman said her employer would object to a picture of her at a political event, while another didn’t want her brother-in-law to post pictures of her two-year-old son on Facebook.

To be fair, neither of these problems are about vanity. They both seem like pretty reasonable complaints.

Bejar said Facebook wouldn’t take the photos down, and suggested to both women that they should try harder to convince the posters to remove them.”

We have a better idea. If a poster’s shame reflex isn’t triggered by being called a harasser, how about posting photos they might find unflattering? We can see the new reporting option already: “Please remove my tag from this photo, it’s part of a blackmail scheme gone awry.”

Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com