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Is your vanity taking over Facebook?

A story published by The Telegraph (and numerous other news sites) has revealed that Facebook users are deliberately reporting pictures as ‘offensive’ – simply because they don’t like how they look. The study, conducted by technology site All Things D, has revealed that the majority of pictures that were flagged up weren’t obscene, just unflattering.

Facebook’s engineering director, Arturo Bejar, has said that he would rather users contacted each other directly to sort out ‘photo disputes’ and the site has recently changed the options beneath photos to include new ones, such as ‘I don’t like this photo of me’.

Are we right to be precious about a few unflattering shots of ourselves? We’re all aware of the changes that an increasingly digital age has heralded; most people have digital cameras; most people have a Facebook account. If you go to a party, you might get photographed. The pictures may well end up on the internet. This cannot have failed to escape most people.

Secondly, who cares if you look a little out of sorts? Scroll through your friends’ accounts; you’ll easily find a few snaps they probably wish didn’t exist. Thirdly, even before the Facebook revolution, we were aware of the discomfort that accompanies a few embarrassing pictures. Will you deem your baby photos ‘offensive’ and throw them away? How about that shoebox full of snaps from your teenage years, wearing disastrous outfits, that your Mum always gets out when you have company? Of course not. What’s the difference between people seeing a bad photo of you online, or in your lounge?

As we move into an era where couples communicate on Twitter whilst sitting side by side, it’s good to remain aware of what social networks are, and what they were intended for – and that’s fun. Let’s not let our vanity get in the way of enjoying them; and unless you’re a professional model, you should probably stop trying to get that picture of you with a double chin taken down.


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