Facebook Image Tag Spam

In the last few months I’ve decided to put some of my images up on Facebook, even though I don’t fully agree with their terms and conditions with regards to them using my images as they see fit. Anyway, it’s a great way to get your name out there to people, and to keep people up to date with your latest photographical goings-on.
However, I’ve recently been hit (annoyed) with a new type of spam that’s becoming more and more commonplace on Facebook. And it’s all down to the way the photo back-end of Facebook works.
If I post up an image, then a notification will appear on all my friends news feeds. However, if I tag 30 of my friends in that image, then all their friends will also get a notification, multiplying the number of people that get notified about that image by many times. Say each of those 30 friends had 100 friends, then instantly the number of people notitified goes up to 3000!
Many of my friends happen to “like” a particular page that indulges in this dubious practice to sell their products. I would urge everyone to “unlike” any pages like this to keep the replication of this spam to a minimum.

So, if you’re the victim of Facebook image-tag spam, you can do one of the following, assuming that you’ve already “un-liked” the page yourself:

  • ask any of your friends that “like” the page to “unlike” it
  • “de-friend” any of your friends that “likes” the page
  • Report the page to Facebook for Spam, although I’d say this has limited effect.
  • wait for Facebook to implement a mechanism that allows you to block relevant notifications in your news feed, or some other fix.

Bear in mind that you do not necessarily need to like the page yourself to get this spam, it’s caused by your friends liking a page who’s tagging them in their photos, even though those friends are not actually in the photo. it’s purely a method of marketing that should be frowned upon. I can’t use the word “scam” as it’s not a scam, it’s a perfectly legal, but in my view it’s a dubious practice, as it’s akin to unsolicited email. Facebook provide the mechanism to do this, but do not provide a mechanism for the users on the receiving end to switch it off (yet).

So, if you receive a request to “unlike” a page that you’re subscribed to (by “liking” it), this is probably why. Have a look at some of that page, and if you see dozens of tags on an image where they’re obviously not all in it, then please “unlike” the page. It’ll do us all a favor.



Note: If you’re looking to “like” something on Facebook that won’t spam-tag you, you could do worse than “liking” my photography page at http://www.facebook.com/davidhuntphotography 😉


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