Lee Ballard Photography

A photo journal


Following on from my ‘Paranoia’ I came across the statistics in the image below the other day. Now I am a sucker for numbers and figures so I find the stats very interesting, hopefully you’ll find something in them too. They were produced by Pixable and when you compare that the total number of images on Flickr, Picasa and Photobucket combined only equals a third of Facebook’s current image quantity is gives you some idea of scale.

Pixable stats

Facebook numbers

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‘Facebook own your photographs’ is a frequently heard panic statement that seems to appear and do the ’rounds’ every year or so when, another batch of users actually bother to read the terms and conditions.

The paragraph that causes the sudden panic and removal of content is:

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.

Okay, in layman’s terms, if you upload a photo or video to Facebook, they are free to use it for any means they require until such time as you delete the photo or video, or delete your account. Assuming others haven’t of course posted copies of your photo etc on their own account.

So why the paranoia. Well it seems many artists and photographers don’t like this idea as Facebook could use their images or work and they won’t receive compensation for it? Really? Well how about the fact that (from a commercial aspect, as it’s those with commercial interests worrying the most) Facebook is a free platform and one of the most valuable promotional tools in the world today. You would have to spend hundreds if not thousands of real pounds/euros/dollars to get the same sort of exposure that good Facebook promotion can gain you so surely if they do choose to use your work in an advert or promotion,  that must be good for you as you can say ‘I did that’. In real terms 500 million users log on every month so your potential overall exposure is massive. Okay you’re not going to reach all of them but you get my point.

Now photographers and artists are worried that you have an option to ‘download high resolution’ versions of images. Remember though, the hi-res version can only be downloaded if you have uploaded it in the first place. Yes people can ‘right-click’ and save an image, but they can do that anywhere on the net you post images and even if you disable the option there are still numerous ways to ‘grab’ screen images so really Facebook is leaving you no more in the open than any other website.

Now also remember, over 1000 images are uploaded onto Facebook every second and three years ago they hit the 10 BILLION image mark so the mere chances of them finding an image of yours and deciding to use it for promotion are pretty slim but for those of you still worrying about this there are things you can do;

Watermarks: Whilst I am personally not a big fan, if you are worried then do as a number of my friends do and place a watermark across your image.

Image size: All the images I save online anywhere, not just Facebook, are low resolution. Okay you do lose a fair bit of detail in compression but it’s my preferred option. If you chose to upload high resolutions then prepare for them to appear elsewhere.

Children: I have seen a number of people complain that they ‘know someone’ who had images of their children stolen and used elsewhere. The solution here is easy (if you feel it is a likely prospect) just don’t upload children’s images to your ‘fan’ page. Keep them on your personal profile where you can restrict who can see them. Simple.

Stick with these options and you have little to worry about. If you’re still worried about images being stolen then you best remove all your images from the web as if they are displayed anywhere, they can be stolen.

On the note of Facebook’s terms, they have been the same for a few years now and I don’t know of one person that has suffered as a consequence of them.

Finally, be selective about what you display. If you’re worried about specific images then just don’t upload them. Facebook is a fantastic business and promotion tool if used properly and can give you exposure that ‘normal’ advertising just cannot get you. By the way, those of you using a second ‘profile’ instead of a ‘fan’ page may have other problems to contend with soon. Facebook are clamping down on false and non-personal or duplicate profiles. Be warned.

A low resolution watermarked image

Low resolution with watermark. Models: Amber Foxx and Candy Blossom

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