Way-too-candid cameraRob in Vancouver Sun story on Facebook "Photo Stalker" app

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Do you know who's looking at your Facebook photos?

A lot of people don't know that Facebook's default privacy settings expose their photos to the world. And for a stranger, browsing your snapshots of that crazy drunken office party may be as simple as installing a new Facebook application called Photo Stalker.

That's the word from Vancouver Sun reporter Gillian Shaw, who interviewed the app's developer.

Carcione said he developed the software because there was no other way to pull up photos that are posted with "everyone" as their privacy setting, and he also saw it as a way to generate revenue from ads on the application site.

"That's what people go on Facebook for, to look at pictures of their exes," he said. "They are going to be able to spy on people, which they weren't able to do before.

"People are just curious, stalkers, I don't know. The name is perfect, only stalkers would want to do that."

She also interviewed me... after having a stroll through my Facebook photo library. (I'm cool with that - there's nothing embarrassing on there, and we know each other, although we weren't Facebook friends at the time.)

Cottingham's online photo album was among ones I perused with Photo Stalker. I also randomly punched in Facebook ID numbers and saw a number of photo albums for users showing everything from personal pictures from the U.S. presidential inauguration to photos from Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz's Harvard sophomore year dorm, various vacations, living quarters, parties and other events through recent years.

Cottingham said that while "strictly speaking" Photo Stalker doesn't violate Facebook's terms of service, he said it is unlikely people posting photos on their profile sites will expect them to be found by a Facebook application.

"Is this going to come as a pretty rude surprise to them?" he asked. "To the extent that you are taking advantage of people's naivete or carelessness or just lack of understanding how a platform works, I think you really have to ask yourself what it is you are doing and why you are doing it."

So if you do have pictures on Facebook of yourself, say, running around with fairy wings and a wand when you were supposedly off work sick, now might be a good time to rethink your privacy settings. If you're logged into Facebook, click here... or just navigate as follows:

  • From your Facebook home page, click the "Settings" button at the top right, just to the left of the Search box.
  • Click "Manage" next to "Privacy".
  • Click "Profile". (And now's a good time to look through all of those settings: are they what you want them to be?)
  • Click "Edit Photo Albums Privacy Settings" under "Photos Tagged of You".
  • Choose the settings you want for each album.

Comments

JoshC says

March 26, 2009 - 1:59pm

If your gonna talk about the app, why not post the URL to it??

 

http://apps.facebook.com/josh_owns

Shawn Dealey says

July 30, 2009 - 2:22am

Exactly, Josh (I assume you created it too).  It was fine app and another stupid facebook tweak that will see them go the way of Myspace for popularity real soon.

Better that they get people's quiz results the F*CK off replying instead of dicking with people's creative, yet RULE-COMPLIANT apps.

Seriously.

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