Is posting pictures on social media safe?

A photo of a woman and her baby recently ended up in the wrong hands, linked to a fake article.

Experts tell ABC27 News that pictures are stolen all the time, and this could happen to any of us.

John Whitehead owns John Whitehead Images. He has been a photographer since the early 1990’s.

“I’ve had tons of places steal my images, particularly in Hong Kong,” Whitehead said. “You can email but how much is email? Someone in Hong Kong does not care.”

What about the pictures you take and post to social media?

“For the everyday social media user, the law is not quite as adept at protecting them,” said Evan Pappas, an intellectual property attorney with Shumaker and Williams P.C. “It’s very easy these days for people’s photographs that they take and post on social media to be stolen.”

What are we to do? Pappas said to make sure you understand social media privacy settings.

“You have to read them carefully because over the years they’ve gotten extremely complicated and long,” Pappas said. “They’re difficult to comprehend. You have to understand them to protect yourself in the best way possible.”

Pappas also said watermarks are a good deterrent.

“Putting a watermark on your photograph, although primarily intended to designate that you have a copyright interest in the photograph, could also help dissuade someone from taking your photograph and using it without your permission,” Pappas said.

That is unless you know how to use Photoshop.

“I could probably take a watermark off an image within 30 seconds and you wouldn’t know,” Whitehead said.

Their best advice:

“The truth is if you don’t want your image stolen, don’t put it out there. There’s really no other way to get around it,” Whitehead said.

“Since the law can be difficult and costly to take advantage of, the best thing for people to know is to prevent these things from happening so that they don’t have to go to court to have a picture taken off of Facebook,” Pappas said.

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