Facebook – Not the Place to Store Your Photos

by Peter Zack


Facebook is a great place to share your photos, just don't think of it as your storage space.

The Washington Post reports the pros and cons of using Facebook for storing your photos. I’m astonished that people would consider this as a storage media versus using your own computer hard drive or a secure off-site online storage company (“cloud computing”). The article implies that people are uploading their photos to Facebook (FB) and then deleting the original files, not realizing that FB is reducing the photo size significantly from the original. I just tested an image that was 4600 pixels on the long side and 6MB. After uploading it to FB and then copying it off the site, it came back as 720 pixels and 38.9 KB! A small sample of the original.

There are other reasons to not use this site for photo sharing, and it’s often discussed how photos are taken off the site without permission and used in ads or for other purposes. One such story is that of the husband who didn’t realize he was searching for hot singles! There’s a few good tips in that article about changing your user settings if you are on FB; and who isn’t these days?

So back to the Washington Post report. A few statistics from the article:

  • 65 percent of people sharing pictures online are doing so using Facebook.
  • Nearly 40% of households with digital cameras no longer print out their pictures.
  • Photo printing is estimated to drop by 30% by 2013 from 2008.
  • Estimates of 124 billion photos are on pace to be shared through social networks that year (2013).
  • Facebook size limit is 720 pixels, not sufficient for a good quality 4×6 print.
  • Fewer than 30% of people surveyed knew that photos on social-networking sites are stored at a decreased resolution.
  • With 400 million users uploading 3 billion photos a month, Facebook has become the largest photo-sharing site on the Web by far.

So if you want to share your photos, of course be careful what you share and always save the originals on a secure storage media and not only on a social network. It might also be a good idea to watermark or sign any images that you feel are important and you don’t want someone to use without permission.

Cheers and good shooting – Peter Zack

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