Who owns your Facebook photos?

Don't Waste Your Money

If you have a Facebook account, chances are you post photos of yourself, your kids and your pets.

But who now owns those photos? People we asked, like mom Sarah Smith, were unsure. "No, I have no idea who owns them," the mother of two said.

Others we spoke with had no idea about who has the rights to their photos.

Laurie Fromeyer says she doesn't post her images, period.

"I would be really careful of the pictures I posted of my children," she said.

Fine Print Takes Your Rights Away

A new report on the tech site Mashable says by joining Facebook, you give the site "permission to use your photos and videos for whatever it wants."

You still own your image, but Facebook can share it as it sees fit.

Mashable says Twitter and Instagram have similar terms.

Mommy blogger Andrea Surrey told us earlier this year she requests that others don't show her children in their posts.

"I have asked my friends a few times, hey don't put this on Facebook!"

What You Can Do

So how can you protect your pictures and your family?

  • First, assume everything you post is public.
  • Then, set your Facebook page so that only your friends can see what you post.
  • Think twice about what photos you post, especially if young children are in them.
  • Don't post the name of a young child with your family photos online. Use just your name.

But remember: Whatever you put up, it's still Facebook's photo.

"Of course, I mean you put it out there and it's out there for everyone to see," said Libby Nealy. "So I'm very cautious."

Smart move: watch what you post, and assume it's no longer yours once you put it up.

That way, you stay safe and don't waste your money.

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