NYIP offers three distance education multi-media courses for photographers looking to improve their skills while working from home at their own pace.

Tag Cloud
Get Social With Us
« NYIP Contest Watch | Main | Celebrate Women's History Month...with photographs »

Are Your Photos Safe on Facebook?

To the students of the New York Institute of Photography, this is a message to BEWARE!



I am an instructor at the New York Institute of Photography and like many of us have been on the social network, Facebook. I used it to keep in touch with family and friends, and to display my work for feedback and to keep people abreast of what I have been working on in the past few months.


Two weeks ago, Facebook informed me that I was "disabled" permanently for using a false name. Now some of you may know me as your instructor and others may have listened to the podcasts on the New York Institute's site, I can assure you that my name is Beth Shapiro Green and other than getting married 35 years ago and adding Green that is my name. In fact I own the Web site So there maybe a glitch in their system, but there is no way to contact the Facebook people other than an email begging to be "re-enable".


I have done some research on this and apparently in the latter part of 2010, thousands and thousands of women were targeted for "disabling" (this sounds like words from the book "1984", where the future is bleak and our speech and actions are arbitrarily controlled).


The real danger about all of this is in the notification that by disabling my account they will not return my pictures. Most of my pictures are under copyright protection and have water marks, but not all. This is a very dangerous situation I have been put in, because my art work, the images that I show and sell, are all limited editions and they are sitting on the Facebook server.


So users BEWARE! I would not recommend putting important pictures on Facebook. Instead have it linked to a site you can control. I have no idea how to solve the problem, but I can at least warn my students and colleagues. I'll let you know when and if I am able to resolve the problem.


Beth Shapiro Green

Instructor at the New York Institute of Photography

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (20)

Sorry to hear about that but as a user of facebook who reluctantly joined a while ago, I learned don't put ANYTHING important on FB not only because of the Copyright issues but FB stance on privacy, their "Opt-out" programs where they opted the user into features and then the user had to "Opt-out" *(NOT NICE). I hope you issue is resolved sooner rather than later.
March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames
Wow...!!! I am a student with NYI currently and I too post alot of my pictures on FB. Thank You for this word of warning. I do hope that everything does work to your advantage on resolving that issue. That's pretty scary. Especially after having watched the Social Network. Makes me kind of wonder.
March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Armstrong
I won't post any of my "Pro" work on there for that reason...anybody could download the pic and use it as their own too. I am just starting out, so nothing has a copyright yet! I hope you can get this figured out!!! Good luck!
March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeth
Thanks Beth for informing this issue to us. I post a lot of pics on FB but only 640x480 fine jpegs. I dont know if this can be used by anyone in some way either to sale or print. Recently I was contacted by asking for my Muscat Fireworks pictues to be published in one of their Feb issue magazine. I had sent them around 40 pictures full size fine JPEGS. But lately they informed me that my pics were not selected for publishing. I dont if this is true or not as I live in Muscat and I cannot check if they used my pics somewhere else. I guess this is all part of the photography. Cheers. Reehan ( and
March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterReehan Hoossein
Any images posted on the internet, on any website that's open to the public, are there for the taking ... if the viewer is determined, there are ways to "lift" images no matter what security devices you have in place. I don't think FB is any better or worse than anywhere else.
March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTanya De Leeuw
I will be removing my photos from facebook. I have some great work posted there to share, but will just have to create a site for my work. I'm sorry this has happened to you.
March 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterheather
I share photos on Facebook, but like Reehan said, it's all low resolution. They can try to use them, but the print quality would be horrible. If I get to the point that I'm selling photos, I might reconsider. But as a student of NYIP, I enjoy getting feedback on the shots I post
March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterD Punch
I'm all too aware that displaying anything online is dangerous--but to not do so means losing out on a great deal of "fun" in life and the possibility of publication. I've had many requests for legitimate sales through the internet. However, I've also found my images "lifted" despite copyright. I recently became aware of { } doing so and am working on how to deal with it (send an invoice?). Stolen low res images can still be used for online sources. I can't imagine the risks that pro's run every day if they use the internet to promote their work--and yet the internet is the now and the future.

Have you considered consultation with a lawyer yet?
March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCharlene
I am very sorry to hear that Beth. Hope you could resolve it.

Long ago when there was talk about FB owning the pictures, copyright and etc, I took everything down and just left the account open.

FB is a great tool as a social networking media and promotion for business. However, I don't want to be depend on the third party's mercy.

Once FB or similar decide to close an account it's very hard and time consuming to put everything back in order. Specially if our own business is at stack.

All the best.
March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarcel
Thank You Beth for the info. I am just back from a trip to California and Yosemity, I do post some on FB but I only leave them on for about a day or two then I remove them. I will not post any of these pics on fb.
March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret Banker
Same thing happened to me last week! My entire account was wiped out. So, I will be very selective when posting pics in the future.
March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKim Mathis-Mauck
This can happen to almost anyone. If you annoy someone on Facebook, and with some people that's not very hard to do, it's not very difficult for them to get your account disabled. Facebook doesn't have a "innocent until proven guilty" policy. It's "we assume you're guilty, and you prove your innocence." I back up my FB account regularly for that very reason. That way all my data, including pictures, is in zip archives on my hard drive.
March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNorm
The arbitrariness of taking a long established account with lots of material on-line is appalling. I use FB primarily for putting up photos of photo-shoots I have been on with friends so we can compare "results". I have deleted half my albums now and will I will eventually do more and keep things there for shorter periods. Though once something has been put on the web it seems to gain a life of its own.

BTW, I think some of the data FB asks for to supposedly make your account more secure makes it much less secure and more dangerous to you if it gets hacked which seems to be a not uncommon occurrence on FB.
March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret Wong
I think this is scandalous! They are exaggerating with their anti-abuse policies... I understand blocking the use of a pseudonym like "sexy kitten" or other, but the use of a name either professional or on your birth certificate is totally justifiable and legal!

It is suspicious that they would target a name so obviously marital related. Is FB aiming to ask for proof of identity to open an account from now on? Will we have to scan our wedding certificates? How much do they want to delve into our private information?!

I would be very suspicious and ask myself if it was not someone "reporting" my page.. Definitely demand a detailed explanation of their motifs (not taking into account the photo retrieval because their policy is stated and you are supposed to have read it before using the photo albums... I know I haven't read it all)

Thanks for the reminder though, to keep our photos safe.
March 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
It is a low resolution, as any other site, PPL can copy and paste anything, I think the ways of solving Privacy Issues, is to just LIMIT, what you post on FB or any other sites for that matter, as other ways of posting your work, can be in Jeopardy just the same. AEP.

When posting Photographs, limit the amount you desire to exhibit, when you feel necessary delete the old and post the new, but always allow yourself to have a minimum....
March 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnaMaria
Once something is posted on the web, be it facebook, flicker, your personal blog, is out there forever. If you don't want it out there, don't post it, period.

Charlene, if you catch someone using your work without your permission you could certainly send them an invoice, although you may need to send a cease and desist notice first. If it's your work and you're entitled to compensation for it. A good example of this is a gentleman that sued an email spammer. He found out who the spammer was and started sending him invoices for his time...yes he actually billed him for the time it took to open, read, delete each email. When the spammer didn't pay the invoices he was taken to court and was told he had to pay the invoices.
March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDan
Thanks Beth for bringing this to our attention. I have a fb account but I don't use it to showcase my pictures. I only use my website. Perhaps a letter to Mark Zukerberg is a good idea. Considering his designs for fb, your situation illustrates a major problem. It seems that if fb won't return your pictures it could be construed as copyright infringement (even for those photographs without visible copyright protection). A letter written directly to Zuckerberg informing him of said infringement may make fb reconsider their position, as a whole, regarding pictures.

I hope the situation works out for for you.
March 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMonica Starks
I would appreciate a follow up on this article. Were you able to get your account back or simply your photos? Please let us know.
March 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
Thanks for the warning, Beth. Facebook has become an all-encompasing site that way too many people accept for what they think it is, not necessarily for what it really is. A nice communications tool, definitely, but beyond that - beware. A letter to Zuckerberg and some heightened publicity through NYIP might bring this problem to the foreground. Hope you're able to restore everything you've lost.
March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGeo
I have done some research on this and apparently in the latter part of 2010, thousands and thousands of women were targeted for "disabling" (this sounds like words from the book "1984", where the future is bleak and our speech and actions are arbitrarily controlled).
August 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDiesel straight jeans
Editor Permission Required
You must have editing permission for this entry in order to post comments.