Secure social media
BY 花消英气 from 21st Century
Published 2022-08-15
It’s important you know who exactly can view your social media posts. TUCHONG

The topic “How much privacy can a photo reveal” has been trending on Sina Weibo, sparking concern and heated discussion about privacy awareness.

In group chats, some people may post their original photos. But that may give away your home address and other information.

Images often contain a lot of information and various traces left by digital cameras or photo manipulation software.

This data, called Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF), is a key tool for many professionals. It can detail whether the photographer used a flash, which digital effects were applied to a picture and when the photo was taken. EXIF can also contain the precise GPS coordinates of the location where a photo was taken, according to CNN.

If you take a landscape picture from your window and send the original picture to a group chat, it means that you are releasing your location data to all strangers in the group. They may even accurately infer your house number by analyzing the shooting time and angle.

Not just in a group chat, sending an image in a text message, email, or other delivery tools will also include the accompanying information. So how do we protect our privacy when sending photos?

The most effective way is to avoid sending original photos in group chats. If it’s necessary, try not to tap the “original picture”. However, photos sent by WeChat Moments are automatically compressed by the system, and they travel without location and other information, according to the WeChat team.

To tackle the problem at its root, we can delete and remove a picture’s EXIF data on a computer. If you are using an iOS smartphone, you can turn off location services for the camera in the privacy settings. If you’re using an Android, the settings vary. Typically, you can go to the setting menu and switch the services off for the camera, according to CTV News.

There is one more thing you can do – photoshop your photos before you share it. What comes with your edited images is photos without stored location data.

(Translator & Editor: Li Xinzhu AND Luo Sitian)
Manipulation  处理
Flash  闪光灯
Coordinates  坐标
Delivery  传送
WeChat Moments  朋友圈
Compressed  压缩