Do we need user censorship or should we just be more careful?

Why would we ever need user censorship?

Recently on my Zipline one of my contacts was asking [KT] about the ability to block a user from viewing their photos.

The issue was around a photo of a niece that had been uploaded and that had been favourite-ed by a user with a bit of a dodgy handle. The other favourites of this user were all slightly dodgy images.

My contact could see that this user had added the picture of the niece as a favourite and could also see the users other favourites along with his user name, thus giving everything some context.

The interesting bit about this is that if this user had just right clicked and downloaded the pic, along with the other pics in their favourites, then no one would be the wiser.

So is the solution here that we should be blocking users from viewing our photos? If so what is the point of putting them online on a photo sharing website?

The point of the photo sharing website (in my opinion) is to either use it as a photo album (aka photo dumping ground like photobucket), or use it as a showcase for the photos that you’re most proud of. Either way none of them are really designed to allow only certain people to view your pictures — it’s for photo sharing after all. The exception to this is Zooomr where you can say an image is for “Friends and Family” and you’re given some special URLs that link to the pictures, but it’s not really the same.

Facebook has the perfect system for only allowing particular users to see your pictures by only allowing your ‘friends’, which are (hopefully) people that you have vetted in some way, to see them. Which in this case is probably the most sensible option for ‘sharing’ the image in question.

So what is the solution? Wang everything on Facebook?

Well I think the solution here is to think about where is most appropriate for your image, and I think this decision should be entirely based on content.

Pictures of people generally only mean things to those people and their social circle, unless they are someone famous I guess, so a photo sharing website shouldn’t be your first choice for this image type.

Where as, a cool picture of a mushroom or a sunrise would be totally wasted on Facebook, and should be shown in all its glory on a photo sharing site like [Zooomr]

The point is you need to consider the content, chose the appropriate level of ‘security’, convert this into a website (be it Zooomr, Facebook or your own private album) and put it there, because as disappointing as it may seem not seeing this kind of thing happen doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening.