The latest Facebook update has plenty of people complaining, as every previous update did. Many cannot stand the new “timeline” and would rather Mr. Zuckerberg and his oompa loompas would consult with users before making such drastic changes. It is, after all, a social network. Right? But whether that argument is right or wrong is not the point of this article. In this case, we thought it was important to draw attention to something Facebook finally got right: tagging approval.
Sometime in mid-August, before the recent timeline fiasco, Facebook introduced some new privacy features. One of them was tagging approval. Once enabled, your friends (and I use the term loosely) must wait for your approval before their photo tag of you appears in their albums, on your wall, and in the feeds (excuse me – timelines) of everyone connected to them.
In the early days of tagging, one might think a feature such as this to be unnecessary. After all, the developers at Facebook had the purest intentions when they created tagging. The original idea was that friends often take pictures together. If you and a friend took some silly photo booth pictures together, your friend could upload them, tag you, and thus show the world how silly you are. Even friends posting 3rd grade school pictures of you might have been annoying, even embarrassing, but not a violation of your dignity or privacy.
The real problem with tagging is that many people have extended their Facebook networks far beyond their close knit group of friends or even their old high school buddies. For some people, every day brings a new friend request, and you never know who might click that friend button next to your name. In some cases, people who might appear sincere are actually looking for opportunities to spam you.
The scenario goes something like this. One day you get a friend request from an incredibly beautiful woman. You immediately assume the beautiful woman thinks you are equally handsome, and you decide to accept the friend request. After all, it is not so far fetched that a beautiful woman would find you irresistible. The next thing you know, that beautiful woman is tagging you on pictures of her half-naked body, and you, of course, are obviously nowhere to be found in her picture. Instead, her caption shows a link to website that is selling something random. What you thought was an online hookup turned into an advertisement for shoes.
Another common tag issue that sometimes actually relates to real friends is the “rant” tag. Some of your friends are undoubtedly politically active. If you are like them, you might not mind getting tagged in a picture of President Obama. But if you like to be tagged only in photos that actually have you in them, tagging approval is a blessing. The only solution before tagging approval was to remove yourself from a tag after the fact.
The new system has a set of options that allow you to determine who is allowed to tag you and what happens when you get tagged. To configure your tagging settings, do the following.
1. Login to Facebook and click the down arrow next to the “Home” button on the top right.
2. Click “Privacy Settings”
3. Next to the second heading, “How Tags Work”, click “Edit Settings”
The first option is “Profile Review”. With this setting turned on, you must review any tags before they can appear in your profile. This does not stop people from tagging you, but it will not appear on your wall.
VPS servers experts at 34SP.com revealed that “Tag Review” is more comprehensive. It allows you to review each and every tag. If shoe spammers are tagging you every day, you should unfriend them anyway, but Tag Review will help you cut down on the unwanted tagging that sometimes comes even from real friends.
“Maximum Profile Visibility” determines who will know that someone has tagged you. You can limit that to friends, make it public, or include “friends of friends”. There are also location settings if you want people from your area to be able to see them.
“Tag Suggestions” simply allows Facebook to find pictures that look like you on your friends’ albums and suggest that you be tagged in them. Finally, there is a setting for “Friends can check you into places”, which sounds creepy. Until Facebook gives a better explanation of the final one, you should probably keep it off.
Tag! You’re It!
Facebook privacy is probably always going to be a sticky mess. It is, after all, a social network, and if you think about it like a party, the most privacy you could expect is a stall in a bathroom or in a closet. Do not expect to be anonymous. Tagging approval is more about control over what your friends can do with your name and your profile, and that is something that should make many Facebook users breathe a sigh of relief.