The Zuckerberg family has learned the hard way that Facebook’s privacy settings can’t stop friends and followers from sharing pictures that were meant to be private.
Shortly after Christmas, a family photo of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, his sister Randi Zuckerberg, and other members of the family gathered around the kitchen island for some holiday poking on their smartphones made its way to Twitter, then BuzzFeed and other media outlets.
In a public Twitter exchange, Randi Zuckerberg called out Vox Media marketing director Callie Schweitzer for tweeting the photo without her permission.
Schweitzer graciously removed the photo, explaining to Zuckerberg:
@randizuckerberg I’m just your subscriber and this was top of my newsfeed. Genuinely sorry but it came up in my feed and seemed public.
— Callie Schweitzer (@cschweitz) December 26, 2012
She added that the photo was “incredibly endearing” and “should be made public.”
It wasn’t really her fault, though. Zuckerberg has more than one account, including a public Page for her followers and a private account for friends.
One version of Facebook’s privacy settings allows friends to see photos that the users are tagged in. Zuckerberg did the math and realized that Schweitzer is friends with her sister, who was also tagged in the shot.
She’s since deleted the entire Twitter exchange. However, Zuckerberg has left her followers with a warning:
Digital etiquette: always ask permission before posting a friend’s photo publicly. It’s not about privacy settings, it’s about human decency
— Randi Zuckerberg (@randizuckerberg) December 26, 2012
Human decency is hard enough for regular people to find online, let alone for public figures. But if anyone is in a good position to write the rules, it’s a member of the Zuckerberg family.
Years ago, MySpace warned users to not post photos of other people on the social network without their permission. How that sentiment failed to make its way to Facebook is still a mystery.
Adding his two cents to the Twitter debate, TechCrunch community director Drew Olanoff may have said it best: “ugh,” he wrote. “Not everything in everyone’s lives is ‘news.’”
Image by MR Gao.