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Do You Trust Your Friends? The Scary Way the New Facebook Profile Can Be Abused

This post - How the Redesigned Profile’s Recently Tagged Photos Panel Can Be Abused - should be read by anyone using Facebook.

Shortly after Bryan Person pointed me to the article, I took 5 minutes to create 5 images using Skitch on my Mac and upload them to Facebook. During the upload, I "tagged" myself in the images. The result is that when you go look at my Facebook profile those five images are (at the moment) what you see across the top of my profile:


I then looked at Bryan's Facebook Profile, which showed the five most recent pictures in which he was tagged:


With Bryan's permission (we were chatting on Facebook), I then simply went to each of my "photos" and tagged them as having Bryan in the "photo". The result was that now visitors to Bryan's profile get to see MY images and message:


Here's the thing:


I just simply had to go and tag him in those "photos" that I uploaded.

That's it.

The other aspect of this is that:

Those images will stay on Bryan's profile until either:
1) I remove the tags;
2) Bryan removes the tags; or
3) someone else tags Bryan in new pictures.

Your profile page displays the five most recent photos in which you were tagged.

Now, Facebook has long had this ability for users to "tag" their friends in photos (without their permission), but photos were NOT as prominently displayed on your profile. Sure, that picture of you from 1975 that you were tagged in might show up on your Wall or in your "Photos" area, but that was it... a few people might notice it, but probably not many... and when you then went and removed the tagging they would disappear.

Now it is front and center at the top of your Facebook Profile... for all to see.

Stand by for all sorts of pranks...

And... are you an advocate for a cause? Why not tag your friends in some "photos" so that your cause shows up on all their profiles?

Of course, if you do this too much, those friends may very well "un-friend" you... but until they do that there isn't anything they can do to prevent this display. Facebook does not have any way to "opt in" to being tagged. You have to remove the tag on each photo after you have been tagged.

As a Facebook user, I do find it annoying that my main presence on Facebook is not under my control. I would like my profile to be a place where I specify the information that I want others to see. Sure, you don't necessarily look at other people's profiles all that often... but when I send a friend request, the recipient probably will look... and I'd like them to see what I want.. versus what Facebook wants.

However, this is the proprietary walled garden of Facebook... and if you want to be inside the walls, you have to abide by their rules... which are basically that they can do anything they want and change how info about you is displayed on their whim.

Welcome to our brave new world...

P.S. Should you try this yourself, the trick is to tag yourself in the images in the reverse order, i.e. you tag yourself in the last image first, then in the 2nd-to-last, etc.

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