If you are one of the 800 million users of Facebook, and the proud owner of an Android or iOS device, you should consider for your own privacy if the Facebook Photo Sync feature should be enabled.
Facebook’s newly introduced feature for iPhone, iPad, and Android users allows you to automatically sync any photos you take on your mobile device with your Facebook account. This is meant to remove the nuisance of having to manually choose which photos to upload.
Before enabling this feature, there are 9 things you should be aware of:
- You have to opt-in to Facebook Photo Sync. Facebook has not turned it on by default. Chances are that your first knowledge of it will be when you access Facebook on your device, and are encourage to “Get Started”.
- If you enable the feature, your last 20 photos and every subsequent photo you take will be automatically uploaded in the background to private Facebook album. You may want to check what photos you have already taken first.
- The photos that you have synced from your phone are not visible to other Facebook users. When you view your synced photos, you can choose then to share them on your Facebook timeline or send them as a message to a friend.
- If you’re worried that Facebook Photo Sync will eat your data plan, you can tell Facebook to only sync when you are on Wi-Fi rather than via your cellular network.
- Facebook says it won’t sync your photos when battery levels are “low”.
- Automatic uploading of every photo you take means every photo you take.
- Every photograph synced from your phone will be able to be mined for information by Facebook. Photos taken on mobile devices can include meta data such as the location where the photo was taken, which could be used to determine where you are, and help Facebook display localized advertising. Furthermore, Facebook could integrate its facial recognition technology with Photo Sync, analyzing your photos to see whose face it recognizes and automatically tag their names. Over time, a comprehensive database of where you have been, and who you have been with, is built up.
- If you opt-in for Facebook Photo Sync, you are no longer in charge of what photos you upload to Facebook. In the past, you could decide what images you uploaded to the social network, and which pictures it could analyze for its own purposes. Now all photos – good and bad – will be available to Facebook. That does not mean anyone apart from you and Facebook’s servers will be able to see them, but there’s clearly a reduction in your level of control.
- You can disable Facebook Photo Sync by following these instructions:
- Open the Facebook app and tap top-left main menu
- Scroll to the bottom and select Account>App Settings>Sync Photos
- Choose Don’t Sync My Photos
On iPhone or iPad:
- Open the Facebook app and go to your timeline
- Tap Photos
- At the bottom, tap Synced
- Tap the gear icon and choose Turn off Photo Sync
- Tap Don’t sync my photos