Tangent — Life is Weird and Other Facebook Adventures

September 15, 2011

Friends on Facebook

My oldest child is taking third year Spanish in college. Before this class, she had never taken any formal language classes and knew no one associated with the language program at her school. A couple of days ago she finally made a visit to the language lab where she logged into one of the computers and cruised around the school’s language site. Some external links were listed under helps, so she clicked on one of them. It was a YouTube channel designed to teach Spanish, and just for grins, she clicked on one of the videos and then sat open mouthed a minute later:

At about 1:20, there are two girls in black and white, and there is a sink behind them. Those two girls are my oldest and youngest children, and the sink is my kitchen sink, yet my daughter doesn’t know the owner of that YouTube channel nor does anyone she knows personally know the owner of the YouTube channel. She was naturally creeped out and called home to get some input. After SO and I finally realized she wasn’t pulling our legs, we sat stunned as well, and then all of us set about trying to figure out how the channel owner would have come to have this picture and use it to represent sisters. We speculated and ruled out all sorts of scenarios and then came to one that makes such sense.

The photo in the video was posted on my daughter’s Facebook page a couple of years ago, and she had labeled it “hermanita”, which is translated “sister” from Spanish. Although my daughter doesn’t have quite the tight security on her FB account that I would like, her account is fairly private and certainly this photo was private. Doesn’t matter. She posted a picture on her account where friends could see it. This implied a right for them to post it to their FB pages (whether that was a legal right or not), and apparently someone did take it and posted elsewhere. Once this was done, that person then extended a right to all of their friends, and if one of their friends decided to post it, the right was extended to all of their friends. Yes, I’m saying that if you put up a picture on Facebook, you can potentially lose control of it. Isn’t Facebook grand?

This can happen to any of us who are on Facebook or almost anywhere on the web. The protestations from Facebook about privacy and respecting copyright are immaterial. Yep, that’s right — they mean nothing. If it’s out on the web (and Facebook has a way of propagating information on the web the likes of which would make your head spin), the potential to be taken from you is enormous. Most people say to themselves, “Why would some stranger want my photos?” You may never know why.

I bring this post for those of you who are still enamored of Facebook but don’t realize the vulnerability it creates for you. Facebook is everywhere and gives others the ability to lift all sorts of things about you — the least of which are your personal photos — and again, it does not matter about your privacy settings. Well, unless you have no friends on Facebook which would defeat the purpose of the site. And I won’t even get into Facebook wanting to trademark the word “f*ce” and how invasive that may be. You can read about that here.

Obviously, what makes this case bizarre are the great odds of my daughter ever seeing herself this way, but it should beg a question of everyone: are there any photos of me, or anything else about me, somewhere I’m unaware of? Probably.

By the way, this is one of the reasons I will never post pictures of famous people in a family setting that the famous in question has not intentionally made public. I will not participate in the breaching of someone’s privacy. It is certainly not my place to do that with anyone’s photos — be they photos of the famous or not. Sadly, on occasion I have been sent what appear to be stalking pictures, and at one time I had a picture of what I’m pretty sure was a private photo of Richard Armitage’s family. That ran a chill up my back, and I couldn’t help but think of my own family. I’ll admit a wee part of me wanted to keep the photo. Thankfully, the better part of me, who lives by the Golden Rule, got rid of it. May the better part of me always dominate.

I told my daughter I was going to be posting this video and that I wanted to post some other pictures of her. She’s of the generation that expects to have their pictures and videos plastered everywhere without consent, but I’m of the generation that is still compelled to ask permission. And this should probably be a post just about her, but I’m not sure one blog piece would do justice to her. She has a lot of energy and is almost always smiling and laughing. It’s hard to get a picture of her when she’s not:

She is also larger than life but doesn’t realize it. Everyone who knows her can see it, and many of us think this photo captures it perfectly:

Update April 2018: my daughter is a college graduate with honors, speaks several languages, lives in NYC where she owns a business and is doing very well, is engaged to a fine young man, whom we like very much, and she finally made it to Machu Picchu. :D

beautiful young woman at machu picchu

P.S. I didn’t ask for permission to post this photo since it’s already posted on the web.


  1. Your children are lovely.

    This is my attitude about FB: Because restrictions mean nothing, I never say or upload anything I don’t want the world to know. As for using your daughter’s pics, we’re the same generation and I too would have asked first. But I suppose, it was out there for the taking. It’s a strange new world.

  2. Hmmm…I think it’s a good idea to revisit this question every once in a while. Like in my Burning Man series there was a vid that I REALLY wanted to use but there was footage of someone you’d recognize immediately. The thing with BM, though, is that everyone coming in the gate signs a release for their own image and that would have included Recognizable Guy. I fell on the side of caution after I talked to someone whose opinion on the matter I respect. Miss Manners, I think, would tend to say “ask permission” and I would agree in most cases.

  3. BTW, did your background change again?

  4. Thanks, Judi, and yep, I changed it to a Spooks screencap:

    I agree about never uploading anything you don’t want the world to see. Once it’s uploaded, it’s fairgame.


    It definitely needs to be revisted often especially considering the changing cyber landscape, which has Facebook leading the excavation, and their CEO on record as saying nothing is private on Facebook and nothing is really private. Yep, you read that right. The ideas of privacy are being challenged, and some are asleep at the wheel while it’s happening. Meanwhile, sites like FB are exposing things that people would rather not have exposed, and I’m not necessarily thinking of anything shameful. But really, people just need to use common sense. I include myself big time.

  5. Beautiful girls you have there Frenz! And thanks for the reminder about photos not just on FB but on any social media/website.

  6. I’m well and truly middle-aged and I guess I could be called almost paranoid about my privacy so Facebook just doesn’t interest me.
    Years ago my husband and I were asked to give an interview in a national women’s weekly, but I hated the thought of having my face and life plastered over a couple of pages.
    If you had told me six months ago I would be taking part in a blog like this I would have said no way, but I’m comfortable with the aspect of anonymity. Of course, it also brings with it the responsibility of being a respectful contributor. Unfortunately, reminders like yours’ are needed frequently.
    Good on you Frenz for sticking by your “Golden Rule.” I’ve often asked myself what I would do if I had the opportunity of taking a photo of Richard Armitage (or any of my other crushes over the years) when he’s “off duty” and the answer is always the same, I just couldn’t do it. Like you, I would still wish I had that photo though!

  7. Beautiful daughters you have there Frenz! :) And a good reminder that private isn’t really private on Facebook. It’s pretty chilling when even the owners admit that!

  8. It often surprises me how few pics there are of RA in daily life. Considering the level of interest in this guy, no one ever posts a pic of him jogging, or grocery shopping, or getting a latte at Starbucks. Perhaps like you, Frenz, we are a highly principled bunch who respect his privacy, and I hope that is the case. But human nature being what it is, I find it hard to believe that EVERYONE is that respectful. Perhaps he has mastered the art of living privately, or is still able to wander about unrecognized? (I find that hard to believe, especially in the UK).

    Whatever the reason, I hope for his sake this behavior continues, as fandom tends to thoroughly dissect any photos of him that are actually published. I would think it would be incredibly stressful to have to be prepared to be photographed every time you step out the door.

  9. With so much stock photography out there its concerning that someone would do the wrong thing and use your image, it’s not like there aren’t other options. Very strange.

    I’m with Judiang, I just assume that everything on FB or anywhere online has the potential to be misused or “find another life” as it were.

  10. I think people are incredibly underinformed on this issue in general, so I’m glad you wrote this.

  11. Thanks for the kind words about my daughters. They are my greatest accomplishment along with my other two children, but I can’t really take credit for them. I give God the credit. He’s been good to me. :)

    I think this subject is utterly fascinating, and I will probably post about it again sometime. I just can’t help it!

    Cindy, I think the primary reason we haven’t seen private photos is that he is simply not well known enough to warrant them — yet. As his star rises, I’m sure the demand to see him in a private setting will eventually bring some of those photos to the surface. Of course I would love to think we are all a principled lot, but as the number of fans grows, that’s probably going to lessen.

    In the meantime, I’ll continue to treat Richard Armitage or anyone else the way I desire to be treated. Some may consider that a contradictory statement since I’ve spent quite a bit of time examining him on this blog, but candidly, I’ve been examined as much as he has by the public in my area, so I guess I’m a bit immune to it.

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Your Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.