Israeli Site alerts Facebook users to embarrassing pictures

By Roberto Rocha , Montreal Gazette

Are bawdy weekend photos on Facebook hurting your reputation at work? An Israeli company thinks it can help.

Face.com, based in Tel Aviv, has developed technology that detects when people add pictures of you on Facebook so you can take them down before they cause any damage.

"In social networks, you lose control of your image," said Gill Hirsch, chief executive of Face.com. "Anyone can upload photos of you without your consent, and this can be uneasy for some people."

The original aim of the service was to make it easier for Facebook users to "tag" photos, or identify who is in a picture. But during the last three months of testing, users asked to be alerted when pictures of themselves are added without their knowledge.

While Facebook informs users when other members tag photos with their names, some photos can remain untagged.

Once a user signs up for the free service, it scans all his friends' photo albums. If it finds a match, the user is alerted.

"It's also helped people find lost photos," Hirsch said.

Though the service is free, Hirsch said new paid features will be added later, but declined to say what they are.

The Internet has blurred the boundaries between public and private lives, with stories abound of workers who got into trouble at work when drunken photos emerge online. Some employers have admitted to checking social network profiles of job candidates for embarrassing content.

A survey of 2,670 hiring managers in the U.S. by Harris Interactive showed that 45 per cent screened candidates' online profiles.

This has led to a small backlash by Facebook users who say employers need to accept this new reality.

Several Facebook groups sprouted in response, one of them called "Dear Employer: I'm An Upstanding Individual Despite My Facebook Pictures



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