Facebook Can Use Your Photos in Their Ads Without Permission

Did you know that Facebook can use photos you post on the site in advertisements targeted on the right (advertising) side of your contact’s profile?

Unless you customize your privacy settings, Facebook can share just about anything you post with just about everyone. Using your intellectual property for their financial gain is not a new Facebook issue, but one that should be revisited due to recent Facebook Privacy changes. Here’s the funny part: you gave Facebook the right to use any of your content in any way they see fit when you signed up for your account and didn’t read the user agreement. If you visit the Facebook Statement of Rights page you will see the following:

You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:

  1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
  2. When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).
  3. When you use an application, your content and information is shared with the application.  We require applications to respect your privacy, and your agreement with that application will control how the application can use, store, and transfer that content and information.  (To learn more about Platform, read our Privacy Policy and Platform Page.)
  4. When you publish content or information using the “everyone” setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).
  5. We always appreciate your feedback or other suggestions about Facebook, but you understand that we may use them without any obligation to compensate you for them (just as you have no obligation to offer them).

Make sure you customize your privacy settings so that you are sharing your data at a level comfortable to you. One place you may not realize you need to check is Facebook Ads. When you visit your Account Settings page the last tab on the right is Facebook Ads. By clicking on it you can adjust your settings  — after you read their pop up on not selling your information. Where is says “Allow ads on platform pages to show my information to” and “Show my social actions in Facebook Ads to” Check No One. This gives you just a bit more control over what Facebook can share about you and your profile.

As it states above,  information you delete from your Facebook may not be permanently deleted. Just know that once something hits the internet it is there for good. Posts, pictures, videos and comments on social networking site are public, permanent and exploitable.

6 replies
  1. aka Cliff
    aka Cliff says:

    Question: A professional photographer took pictures of a friend and and put them on facebook for agreed, social reasons. A news company took those pictures and used them in a news article, so it was used for their commercial gain. Can they do that without the photographer’s permission? Is anything posted on facebook fair game for anyone else to use for any purpose?

    • John Sileo, Identity Theft Speaker
      John Sileo, Identity Theft Speaker says:

      You are best to consult a lawyer, which I am not, but basically, once you put something on Facebook, it is forevermore public (thus the term SOCIAL networking). Issuing a cease and desist might work and suing them will only work if you have as good of lawyers as they do. You’ve pretty much given away rights when you put it on FB. Not probably what you were hoping for, but reality. And Facebook itself ALWAYS reserves the rights to use your photos as they see fit.

  2. Mike
    Mike says:

    Question: If I should share my pictures via twitter which is linked to my facebook account will they also fall under this agreement? And what about if I only put up the link without using the app-connection. Facebook always shows what’s in a link and thus also shows a picture when you link a picture so I was wondering if those also become licensable for them.

  3. jessica reagan
    jessica reagan says:

    One thing everyone is forgetting is this…..Facebook cannot SELL prints of copyrighted professional photography that a professional photographer owns. THAT IS ILLEGAL. We share for advertising purposes. They cannot use a copyrighted SONG and sell it as their own material. THATS the HUGE DIFFERENCE. They cannot duplicate a product that is trademarked just because we “shared it” for advertising purposes. That is an important factor for all ARTISTS. I am happy to allow facebook to use my content in their ads it promote ME. But they do not OWN it and cannot seek it in an art store or create an art book title Jessie Reagan Photography without reimbursing me. Copyright law trademark law is protected against facebook twitter, google etc.


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