Facebook Photo Privacy Fail Revealed by CEO's Own Sister

Here's something that must have been an awkward situation in Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's family this week: his sister, Randi Zuckerberg, had one of her Facebook photos publicly posted on Twitter without her permission. Twitter user Callie Schweitzer shared a photo of the Zuckerberg family checking out Facebook's latest mobile app, Poke, before getting an angry response from Randi: "Not sure where you got this photo. I posted it to friends only on FB. You reposting it to Twitter is way uncool."

As it turns out, Schweitzer didn't exactly go out of her way to steal Zuckerberg's picture. It was right there in the top of Schweitzer's Facebook feed -- even though she isn't friends with Randi. Ironically, the CEO's own sister gave the perfect example of how inconsistent Facebook's privacy policy is.


When Randi responded to Schweitzer on Twitter, Schweitzer wrote, "I'm just your subscriber and this was top of my newsfeed. Genuinely sorry but it came up in my feed and seemed public."

Randi accepted Schweitzer's apology, and explained that Schweitzer likely came across the image because she's Facebook friends with Randi's sister, who was tagged in the photo. So, despite the fact that Randi made the image "friends only," it was exposed to a wider network because of the way Facebook's sharing policies work.

I can't count how many times I've seen this happen on Facebook. I mean, I've never been privy to a Super Top Secret Photo of the World's Biggest Social Media Company's CEO Playing With an App Called "Poke," but I often see images from people I've never heard of, because someone I'm friends with is tagged in the picture or they commented on it or whatever. It's definitely misleading, and adds unwanted clutter to people's streams.

According to Randi Zuckerberg, however, the fact that her private photo made its way into a public domain has nothing to do with Facebook's policies:

I agree with her stance that it's always best to ask permission, but it's also true that if Facebook's privacy settings had worked the way they're supposed to, her photo wouldn't have shown up in someone else's feed in the first place.

For me, the bottom line is this: if you post something on the Internet, you shouldn't assume you can control who sees it -- even with all the privacy controls in the world. Still, now that this little embarrassing story has made the rounds, I wouldn't be surprised if Facebook's "friends only" function changes soon.
Have you seen photos in your Facebook feed of people you don't know, thanks to this loophole? Do you think the policy should change?

Image via Facebook

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