Confused by Facebook’s privacy settings? You’re not alone.
It seems even Randi Zuckerberg, the sister of Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, has trouble figuring them out.
Randi, who previously worked for the social media site, was reportedly peeved when she discovered that a family photo she had meant to share with only her friends on Facebook wound up being spread on Twitter. The photo shows members of the Zuckerberg family reacting in surprise and laughter to Facebook’s new “Poke” app on their phones, while Mark looks on.
According to Forbes, Vox Media marketing director Callie Schweitzer came across the photo on her Facebook newsfeed since she is friends with one of the Zuckerberg sisters tagged in the photo. Apparently not realizing it wasn’t meant to be widely shared, Schweitzer made it public by tweeting it.
Randi’s reaction indicated she was caught off guard. “Not sure where you got that photo. I posted it to friends only on FB,” she tweeted at Schweitzer. “You reposting it to Twitter is way uncool.”
As The Atlantic Wire explains, the incident highlights how perplexing Facebook’s privacy settings can be. Even if you indicate that you want only your friends to see certain photos on Facebook, the friends of those tagged a photo can view your entire album unless you specify otherwise. The Atlantic notes that the term “friends” applies to not just your own friends, but to all the friends of people tagged in your photos. Confused yet?
To ensure access to your photos is exclusive, Facebook requires you to go into a “custom” setting to uncheck a box that reads, “friends of those tagged,” The Atlantic advises.
As one commenter wrote on Forbes: “When you have to jump through so many hoops, you’re eventually going to get tripped up.”
Schweitzer has reportedly apologized for tweeting the photo and she and Randi appear to have made up. But Facebook’s privacy settings aside, the incident has prompted another debate about when it’s okay to share someone else’s photo.
As Randi wrote in a tweet: “Digital etiquette: always ask permission before posting a friend’s photo publicly. It’s not about privacy settings, it’s about human decency.”