Did I Overreact By Asking My Friend To Take Down Old Pictures Of Me From Her Facebook?


I told my friend to take down old pics of me from her Facebook.Source: ShutterStock

Pretty recently, I was going through an old friend’s photos on Facebook when I saw these pictures of me. They weren’t tagged, but I had no idea they were even online. Now, I’m not talking about racy pictures or photos taken from a hiding place way. These were like, pictures taken while I was hanging out with my friends and goofing around.

The big thing was that I just felt that they didn’t show “me” the way I worked to convey myself to people. They were old pictures and I was a very different person and I didn’t like these lingering photos making me feel kind of uncomfortable. I just didn’t want them living online.

Now, this is a friend of mine I hadn’t talked to in a couple of years. These pictures were maybe like five or six years old. And yet, I wrote this whole long message about how I would really appreciate if she took down those pictures of me, even though they were untagged. It made me uncomfortable knowing that they existed and I didn’t have final “approval” over them, mainly because they were from so long ago.

My friend was totally sweet about it and took them down. However, it’s probably worth nothing that this is not the first time that I have done this. That’s what is making me worry that I have a tendency to overreact to these pictures that probably to other people don’t seem like a big deal at all. How much control can I have over other people when it comes to their pictures… that happen to have me in them?

I don’t think there’s really a right answer because we just keep having to adapt to the new technology culture. It’s not like most pictures go get developed and you have one hard copy anymore. It’s so much easier to take pictures and now people have cameras all the time. Could I (and should I) set rules in public about if they can share pictures they take with me in them?

That said, my face and my body are mine and I do feel like that even in public or under totally everyday circumstances, it entitles me to a degree of privacy about what imprint of me is online. My new rule of thumb is to ask people before I post pictures of them. Yeah, a lot of times we’re out in public and I’m not necessarily doing anything wrong, but I wouldn’t want to make someone feel the way I did during my moment of picture discovery.

But also, won’t I kind of go crazy always thinking about what pictures of me might be on the Internet? Do I really want to make myself sick over monitoring my online life as constructed by other people? I am someone who gets stressed out pretty easily, so I don’t know if it’s just me overreacting or if being worried about how your friends post pictures of you is something other people go through.

I’ve really thought about it, and I believe if I picture online makes you uncomfortable, you have every right to ask for it to be taken down. People have different standards for what they think is cool online, so you are free to express those – and hopefully they care about how it makes you feel. While I definitely don’t think my friend did anything wrong and I kind of feel I may have overreacted and micro-managed her a little, I still feel like what I did was reasonable. But I’m curious – what do you think?

Do you think I overreacted? Have you ever asked someone to take pictures of you offline? What do you think is the best way to have that conversation? Do you ask people’s permission before you post pictures of them on your social media? Tell us in the comments!


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  • Stuart Wilson

    You must be very insecure to want that degree of control over your image. Let’s face it, if you only want people to ‘see me in a certain light’ that will be very very shallow. Your friend was probably polite and did as per you requested, but at the same time, thought what a superficial, self-centered, egotistical, bitch.

  • Thephilsblogbar

    I dont see as a problem to ask to removed it, not everybody wishes for photos to be uploaded of them on social media sites.

  • Monica Rae Autumn

    You sound extremely insecure, selfish, and crazy. Unless you were doing something in the photos that may ruin your reputation, or you were with a group of people you no longer want to be associated with, etc… that is different. But if you demand that someone take down a photo just because you don’t like the way you look in it, then that’s crazy and you have issues. Maybe your friend likes the way SHE looks in it, it’s HER profile, not yours. Not everyone looks picture-perfect in every photo and that’s ok – we all know that,we’re all human. A picture is about that moment and if it was a happy one, celebrating with your friends, having a laugh…why focus so much on yourself and your insecurities?

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  • Victoria

    There is such a thing as a DMCA take down notice. If you haven’t given someone permission to post a picture of you, you’re legally entitled to have it removed.

    Just food for thought as I am very much like you and the others who have posted. I don’t like the idea of my photo circulating online even if they are just innocent snaps.

    Your right to privacy is protected by law and it should be enforced. I’m not trying to sound politically correct or anything of that nature, but my privacy is my own and I won’t let anyone see what’s behind the curtain until I am ready, which will probably be never simply because I value my privacy and the privacy of my family.


  • len

    At the end of the day i see it as, it’s your face and your body thats in that picture and you have every right to ask for it to be removed. to a lot people it seems like nonsense but unfortunately we live in a day and age where people take pictures of every little thing that they are doing and every moment..its very annoying. I have a friend who is obsessed with pictures, she takes ridiculous pictures at the most uncomfortable moments like when you are eating…we all know when you are eating you make unflattering faces while doing so but regardless of how anyone looks, including herself, she keeps the pictures, and whether she looks gppd in them or not, she keeps them. I mean good for her…she doesnt care how she looks she accepts herself under every kind of light..kudos to her i wish i could be like that but unfortunately some of us arent and we do care how we come out in pix. Point is, its okay to ask and if the person ignores the request and is a jerk about it, report the picture or just learn that you really cant control people and what they do esp on their personal page but just learn to be mindful of the pictures you take with other people in The future

  • abXO

    I am having the same problem. However mine is a bit trickier because I am not into the whole social media trend. Most people my age have an instagram, a twitter, and a facebook. I have none of these, and when I briefly had a twitter account I didn’t use it to post pictures. What ends up happening is I have to specifically tell people that I don’t want to be in the pictures that they are planning to post online, and at other times I am totally unaware of which pictures of me are out there. It also becomes annoying because I have made it clear that I do not post pictures online, so please do not post pictures of me but I have had to tell the same person a few times. She is the opposite and is obsessed with putting her whole life online and seems to seek validation from strangers to tell her she is pretty…I think it is your right to choose whether you want to be exposed online or not. I think politely asking others to take things down should not be a problem, but it is definitely a nuisance.

  • Emma

    Honestly I understand totally how you feel and in the situation I would have done the same! One of my friends put one of me and her from a few years back and I look horrible as her cover pic. I told her could she please take it down and after a few mentions of it, all she did was change it. A few of my friends said it didnt matter and “its just a photo” but only one agreed with me that it was okay to ask. Its still on her Facebook and I hate it but I really dont want to keep bothering her. I think it depends on the person really but dont worry, I think you entitled to ask someone to remove anything you dont like off the Internet, and your photo’s can be downloaded by anyone anywhere so I completely think you should be allowed say this to someone. It’s you and the world that see’s these photo’s so it’s your choice 🙂

  • Janice

    I think it’s totally OK to have your own standards about online information, pictures and privacy. It’s completely respectable. I don’t think it’s overreacting. In fact, I admire you for standing up for what you believe and asking those people to take the photographs down. Even if it’s someone you trust, sometimes it’s really hard to it because there’s actually nothing wrong about the pics, but you still feel uncomfortable. I wish I had the guts to do what you did.