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Facebook Photos Make You Look Fat

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Most of the people flagging Facebook photos aren't reporting porn or violence, but are unhappy about how they look in them, a Facebook executive said.

    Arturo Bejar, Facebook's director of engineering told NPR that most of the users flagging photos were in the photos themselves. This led to creating a new layer that gave users a box to check next to the statement, "I don't like this photo of me." 

    "[We were] talking to somebody at the Compassion Center in Stanford, the Compassion Research Center," Bejar told NPR. "They were telling us that what triggers your compassion reflex is when you recognize that the other person is experiencing an emotion. So if you notice that they're sad, if you notice that they're happy, if you notice that there's something going on with them, how you engage with them changes. . . . And we found that the message that said, hey, I really don't like how I look in this photo, most people would feel comfortable sending that message. And most interesting, most people who receive that message would just go ahead and remove the photo."

    While the original requests to take down photos came out in August, Facebook has been tweaking the utility to make it less confrontational. (Facebook also has another check-box to report bullying, labeled "It's harassing me" or "It's harassing a friend.")

    Essentially, if you don't like the photo where you are making a weird face or looks like you gained 30 pounds, it's not obscene, doesn't involve hate speech and likely isn't violent, o Facebook isn't going to take down the photo. Bejar said it would be up to the original poster to do so. If the original poster gets the message and doesn't take it down, Bejar says it's up to you to repeatedly ask or give up. (But let's hope you don't get reported for harassment!)

    Unflattering Facebook photos apparently are really a problem if you judge it by the number of hits on Google, with a Coalition Against Unflattering Facebook Photos (on Facebook, of course) and numerous ways to head off unflattering photos at events. But in the end, it's better to have understanding friends who wouldn't post bad pictures of you in the first place.