Twitter photo-tagging sparks privacy fears

Twitter introduces photo-tagging, which is switched on by default

Stewart Mitchell
27 Mar 2014

Privacy campaigners have criticised Twitter after the company quietly introduced a photo-tagging function that is turned on by default.

In a move that makes the service a little more like rival Facebook, Twitter will allow users to tag up to 10 people in a photo, and unless users opt out they have no control over who tags them in images.

"You can tag up to 10 people in a photo and still have all 140 characters at your disposal, making it easier to connect with your friends," Twitter said in its announcement. "If you’re the one being tagged, you’ll get a notification."

But according to privacy experts, Twitter's tagging is a threat because it is automatically switched on, meaning subscribers won't be making an active choice to participate in tagging.

"The reason tagging services like this are problematic is that by default companies switch on these functions for their users when it should be the other way around," Mike Rispoli, communications manager at Privacy International told PC Pro.

"Anyone who's using Twitter, you shouldn't be automatically opted in, you should be able to choose to participate in it, not the other way around."

The service itself was busy with criticism of Twitter's choice of privacy settings - prompting a wave of advice on how to change privacy settings.


Anyone concerned about being tagged by others can change their settings from "Allow anyone to tag me in photos", either by blocking tagging completely or restricting people that can tag images to those who you follow.

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