French police tell parents to stop posting Facebook photos of their kids
France’s national police has urged parents to think twice about posting photos of their children on Facebook, saying the images could jeopardize the privacy and security of their kids. Authorities say that if shared widely, the images could attract sexual predators, while others have warned of the social or psychological problems that children could face later in life. One French expert says parents may even face future lawsuits from their children for violating their privacy.
“Protect your children!” France’s national gendarmerie wrote in a Facebook post last month, warning of the recent “Motherhood Challenge” viral campaign that encouraged users to post photos of themselves with their kids. “You can all be proud moms and dads to your magnificent children, but be careful,” the post continues. “We remind you that posting photos of your kids to Facebook is not without danger!” A regional branch of the gendarmerie went even further, imploring parents in all-caps to “STOP” the practice altogether.
In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, French internet law expert Éric Delcroix said it’s likely that baby photos published today could lead to lawsuits years from now. Under French privacy law, anyone convicted of publishing and distributing images of another person without their consent can face up to one year in prison and a fine of €45,000. That would apply to parents publishing images of their kids, as well. Viviane Gelles, an attorney specializing in internet law, tells the newspaper that French law makes clear that “parents are charged with protecting the image of their children.”
France’s data protection authority has urged parents to implement stronger privacy controls to limit the audience for their photos, and Facebook has worked in recent years to simplify its privacy settings. Jay Parikh, Facebook’s vice president of engineering, recently said that the site is considering a new feature that would automatically alert parents before they share photos of their kids with larger audiences.
“If I were to upload a photo of my kids playing at the park and I accidentally had it shared with the public, this system could say: ‘Hey wait a minute, this is a photo of your kids,'” Parikh said at a November conference in the UK. “‘Normally you post this to just your family members, are you sure you want to do this?'”