Are Your Friends Sabotaging You on Facebook?

bikini body copywriting

via Flickr, by Guillermo Flores

Have you ever logged into your Facebook account only to find yourself tagged in a photo that is totally unflattering to you? Conversely, have you ever been so mad or spiteful at a friend that you uploaded a rather ugly shot of them to the social network for all to see? If so, you’re not alone. A survey conducted by photo gift website in the UK queried 1512 female Facebook users at or over the age of 18 and found that a sizeable proportion tend to be passive-aggressive in their sharing of photos on the site.

A full 24% of respondents had no qualms with posting and tagging photos showing female friends looking unattractive in bikinis, knowing full well that the friends would not be happy with it. Less than half of survey respondents—45%—admitted to posting photos of their friends in other unflattering outfits, while 41% said they had posted photographs of their friends where they were not wearing any make-up. co-founder Rebecca Huggler was quoted as saying, “The etiquette of tagging friends in photographs on social networking sites is a tricky one to master, and with so many pitfalls, we wanted to look into women’s relationships with the photographs they upload to the sites in question.”

“To see that so many women deliberately commit ‘photo sabotage’ and upload unflattering pictures of friends is somewhat surprising, particularly when you consider how many said they’d be mad if the same was done to them,” Huggler noted.

When the women who said that they posted an unbecoming photograph of a friend were asked about the motivation behind their spiteful posts-and-tags, 51% said they did not like their friend anyway, while 32% said they were acting out of revenge for a past Facebook photo wrong their friend had committed. One fifth, or about 20% of these women said they would not remove offending photographs if requested to do so by their slighted friend.

About 75% of the women respondents said they untagged themselves on a regular basis from photos they did not like, while over 60% said they would be angry if a friend posted an unappealing photograph of them.

Huggler added, “Photo sabotage is never kind, but I think we’ve all seen pictures on social networking sites that we know the ‘victim’ won’t be happy with. It’s always a good idea to check with your friends before uploading; they’ll thank you, and it could prevent some serious fallout.”

With the rise of the social network comes a new way to manage—and sometimes ruin—friendships. Posting an ugly photo of a friend is akin to passing on unflattering gossip, to the detriment of the victim’s reputation. It may feel good, in a schadenfreude kind of way, to gloat at someone’s less than stellar appearance and mark them out for mutual acquaintances to see; but in the end, you may lose a friend. If that’s not that great a loss, a better approach would be to defriend them altogether rather than engage in catty behaviour online.

Word Count: 507;

July 23, 2012:

editor writer


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