Woman Gets "Burned" by Facebook Page

Fan page encouraged users to make cruel comments about users' private photos

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Tamara Strickland says she didn't realize her photo albums were unlocked for all to see. But soon everyone would get a glimpse at her private photos.

    Almost four months after Facebook's privacy revamp opened up millions of users' unprotected photo albums to the entire social media site, people are still running into trouble.

    And now some users are turning that trouble into an opportunity to humiliate their social peers.

    It was almost a month ago when a Philadelphia woman came across her -- what she thought was private -- photo on a Facebook fan page called Philly Burn.

    The page's goal was to degrade and embarrass the subjects of photos found on local user profiles.

    "It didn't really start making me feel bad until the comments started coming," Tamara Strickland said.

    Page admins and fans of Philly Burn would troll profiles with unlocked photo albums, find compromising shots and then post them to the page for users to rip apart.

    "They comment, say bad stuff and don't even know nothing about you," Tamara said. "It makes you feel horrible."

    Tamara wasn't alone. Up to 50 cruel comments accompanied one picture titled The Purple People Eater depicting an overweight woman with a purple outfit and purple highlighted hair.

    Other pictures depicted people in vulnerable sexual situations. Page fans even uploaded pictures of homeless men sitting on the sidewalk begging for money.

    The comments were so demeaning and, at times, racist that we can't even reprint them.

    Tamara says when she contacted the Philly Burn admin to have the photo removed, they posted a second photo of her. Complaints by her, family and friends to Facebook also went unanswered, she said.

    "I wasn't getting no sleep. I was constantly checking to see what someone else wrote," she said. "It hurt."

    But within 15 minutes of contacting Facebook for a comment on this story, the 1,600-fan-strong page was removed from the site.

    A Facebook spokesperson later sent this response:

    We take our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities very seriously and have a team of investigations professionals who react quickly to reports of inappropriate content and behavior.  Specifically, we're sensitive to content that attacks specific individuals or groups of individuals, or includes pornography, direct statements of hate, or actionable threats of violence.  The goal of these policies is to strike a very delicate balance between giving people the freedom to express their opinions and viewpoints and maintaining a safe and trusted environment. 

    On Facebook, you have control over the content you post and the people who have access to it.  We encourage people to take advantage of the extensive privacy settings we offer – including our new Publisher Privacy Control, which allows you to choose an audience for your photos at the time of upload – and to share content and information only with those they trust. 

    Tamara's glad the page is gone, but isn't ready to give up Facebook just yet.

    "It's really crappy because you can use [Facebook] for good things. But they're not using it for good things, they're using it for bad things."

    She's since individually locked each of her photo albums in her profile's privacy settings to ensure it never happens again.