You can review and approve all photo tags before they link to your page
Every day, people add more than 100 million tags to photos on Facebook (Facebook, 2010)
Facebook won't remove a photo unless it violates their terms of service
It's happened to lots of parents. You're on Facebook, and suddenly you see a photo of your teen doing something you really wish he hadn't. Or maybe your kid tells you that there's an incriminating photo of himself on a friend's Facebook page that the friend won't take down. What can you do to get your kid's pictures offline?
When someone tags your teen in a photo, that links the photo to your teen's Facebook page. If photos of your kid are tagged, they're searchable online if the poster's profile is public. (Learn more about Facebook.)
Facebook can't force people to take down a photo, but the site offers several "tag settings" that give you some measure of control over tags.
In the privacy settings under How Tags Work, the "profile review" setting allows you to review and approve every tag before it goes on your page. If you don't approve a tag, the photo will still be live, it just won't link to your page. You can also exclude some people from seeing the tag.
Here are some other photo-tagging tricks:
Catch it early. Set your notifications so that you're alerted when someone tags you or one of your photos. Go to the Notifications tab on the Account Settings page to set it, or turn on Profile Review in the How Tags Work section in your privacy settings.
Untag it. If you're tagged in a photo, just remove the tag next to your name (you'll find the link underneath the photo). The photo will still be live on the poster's page, but it will be unlinked from your profile. Remember that only the owner of the photo and the tagged user can remove a tag.
Unfriend the person. If you're not friends with the person who uploaded the photo, you will always be notified of a tag, regardless of your settings.
Report it. Photos of illegal drug use, nudity, sexually suggestive images, hate speech, and graphic violence against an individual or group violate Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Click the Report/Remove Tag link underneath the image, and Facebook will take it down if it violates their policy.
This problem isn't confined to Facebook, of course. A photo of your kid could wind up on any online photo-sharing site -- Flickr, Snapfish, Kodak Gallery, and Picasa, to name a few. And while these sites tend to offer very robust privacy settings, any photo that's on the web could potentially get forwarded to a public site or be searchable on any major search engine.
Talk to your kids about protecting their privacy, as well as their friends'. If your kid doesn't want embarrassing photos of himself on someone else's page, he shouldn't post embarrassing photos of his friends, either. Learning to respect other people's privacy is one of the keys to responsible online behavior. See our tips for more ways to promote good citizenship in cyberspace.