There are thousands, if not millions, of pictures posted to Facebook every day that show regular people doing regular things. Everyone likes to have a good time, and most everyone likes to have pictures taken with friends to remember a fun evening. But is it possible to cross a line with posting pictures on Facebook? Are there instances where a Facebook picture is an invasion of privacy?
Reasonable Expectation Of Privacy
When you close your hotel room door, you expect to have privacy from the rest of the world. If someone gets a keyhole picture of you doing something you would rather not have the rest of the world see and posts that picture on Facebook, that could constitute an invasion of your privacy. Any picture taken and posted when you should expect a reasonable amount of privacy, commonly known as “peeping Tom” pictures, can be considered an invasion of your privacy.
Using Your Likeness Without Permission
Just because you allow a picture of you to be posted on Facebook does not mean that the picture could not turn out to be an invasion of your privacy. If a company decides that your picture would look great on their advertising and uses your image without your consent, then that is an invasion of your privacy. Most people think that this type of situation can only happen to celebrities, but it can happen to anyone.
Alerting The Public To Private Information
When a couple breaks up, it is not unusual for the more bitter ex to post compromising pictures of their former partner on Facebook. If those pictures show information that the ex on display wants to keep private, such as wearing a wig or having to wear medical equipment at night, then that is invasion of your privacy. The pictures of the ex wearing underwear on their head at a party might not qualify as invasion, but any picture that makes private information public without the person’s consent could be considered invasion of your privacy.
If you happen to walk by an alcohol rehabilitation facility and someone takes your picture at that moment and posts it on Facebook, then that could be invasion of your privacy. Any picture that tries to imply something that is not true is considered to be casting you in a false light, and that could be construed as invasion of your privacy.
What Should You Do?
Facebook has a system that allows you to report images that you feel are an invasion of your privacy. If you are not on speaking terms with the person who posted the image, then you should try that system. If you are on speaking terms, then ask the person to take your picture down and explain why. These four categories of images can qualify as invasion of your privacy and would allow you to take legal action if the person posting the pictures does not comply.
If you get no results with reporting the picture or trying to ask nicely to have it taken down, then you need to speak to an attorney about taking action. The attorney might start with a letter that lets the person who published the picture know that the picture needs to be taken down. If that does not work, then your attorney will employ more aggressive tactics that the other person is definitely not going to like.