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After every great party these days there is an influx of photos on Facebook. Until recently, every Facebook user who turned up to the event with a camera would upload their photos to Facebook into an album: maybe specifically for this event, maybe an album for the month or maybe just their basic iOS photo album. What it meant was that there was no one album for the event – all the photos were disjointed and kept all over the place. Until now.
Now, Facebook has decided we can make shared photo albums. They’re easy to set up, easy to use and more fun for both contributors and viewers alike. It’s a natural step for Facebook to take, and one we will probably grow to love and use regularly.
Why Are Shared Photo Albums Great?
Lets say you’re at Burning Man festival and you happen to have a group of 20 or so people you’re camping with. You could upload 20 different albums of photos between you, where your respective non-festival friends see only the albums of people they know, plus the occasional photo of a friend that was tagged elsewhere. Or, you could compile your photos into a huge album for your campground group at Burning Man. All of your friends can see all of the photos taken by everyone in that group, no matter who took them. Now, isn’t that better?
Setting Up Your Shared Photo Album
Up to 50 people can share a photo album and add up to 200 photos each, which makes it potentially huge, but not mind-bogglingly so. Head to photos and click on “Create Album”, click on “Make Shared Album”, then add some contributors. You can choose in the privacy settings whether you’d like the contributors to be able to add more contributors or not. You remain the owner of the album and have the ability to add or delete contributors or change all of the privacy settings at any time.
Privacy of the shared photo albums can be set to public, friends of contributors or contributors only. Photos may also be seen by friends of people tagged in an individual photo. This means if you choose to lock down the privacy of the album, the photos are somewhat shielded from the public, but still privy to a lot of eyeballs. Changes to the album will feature on the timelines of all contributors, meaning the album itself will get a lot of attention too, which thanks to EdgeRank will only serve to make it more popular.
As the owner, you can delete or edit any photo in the album. Album contributors have control over only the photos they upload themselves. Once the album is set up, all contributors can add photos through whatever Facebook app or other photo uploading method they choose.
This shared album feature is rolling out as we speak, with English language users first and the rest of the world following. The feature is also not yet available to pages, but will not doubt me made possible soon enough, perhaps with some modifications for privacy.
Removing Contributors From Shared Albums
Removing a contributor is a simple matter of editing the album and clicking on the cross next to the contributor’s name. Photos will remain in the album by default, but you can delete them if you like. A contributor who has been removed from an album still has the ability to remove their own photos from the album.
If you want to remove yourself from a shared album, you can go to the album, click on the cog settings icon and click on “Leave Album”. Your photos will remain in the album by default, but you can delete them if you like.
If the privacy settings of the album mean that you, as an ex-contributor, can no longer see the album, you can delete the photos by looking at your activity log. You can also browse through your “Photos Of You” to find the ones you are tagged in.
Privacy Issues For Shared Photo Albums
There will no doubt be some confusion with the privacy levels available and how the nominated settings extend to more people due to tagging. For instance, if you set the privacy to “Contributors only”, the photos will be seen by contributors, people tagged in the individual photos and friends of the people tagged in these photos. The same goes for the “Contributors and Friends” setting, allowing people who were tagged and friends of those people to view certain photos also.
As you may guess, the potential for these albums to be seen by a lot of people makes them quite public, even if they are not strictly so. Any photo in the collection could still be seen by thousands of people who are friends with the contributors. This means anyone who would like to have an embarrassing photo of themselves erased from the internet may be fresh out of luck. Yes, they can un-tag themselves and ask both the contributor and the owner of the album to delete it, but by then it may be too late.
Another potential privacy issue is in the future privacy of the album. Just because an album is currently set to “Contributors Only” doesn’t mean that the owner of the album will leave it that way forever. Anyone who contributes photos to a shared album, or has their photo appear in one, should consider carefully if they would be happy for that picture to be public one day and get it removed quickly if the answer is no.
What do you think of shared photo albums? Will you be using them as soon as possible? Do you worry about the associated privacy issues?