Q: How do I know if I downloaded the (Facebook Photo Sync) app (by accident)? — Donna
A: Facebook recently launched a new convenience feature called Photo Sync that is designed to simplify the picture uploading process for smartphone users.
It’s not actually an app, but an optional feature that can be turned on within the existing Android and iOS apps.
They are presenting the new feature to users via a message that says: “New! Photo Sharing Made Easier – Sync Your Mobile Photos to Facebook.”
If you clicked on the “get started” button, you might have activated the new feature that would start uploading your last 20 stored pictures, plus every picture you take from your smartphone’s camera from then on.
Despite some of the misinformation circling the Interwebs, it does not automatically publish your photos in Facebook for the whole world to see, but rather just for you to see.
The idea was to eliminate the upload step for photos that you take on your smartphone, so all you had to do is decide which ones you wanted to share.
While this convenience may sound good for infrequent smartphone camera users, if you are like most of us, you have lots of pictures that you take with your smartphone that you have no intention of every using on Facebook.
I use my smartphone camera for a magnifying glass on some occasions where the text on a label is too small to read with my aging eyes, which get deleted shortly thereafter.
I love taking pictures of the sunrise and sunset, so I will often take multiple shots of the same setting and decide afterwards which one I want to keep and share (if at all).
Many security experts have suggested that the unintended consequences of blindly activating this feature is that you provide Facebook with a huge library of photos with location data embedded so they can better target you for advertising.
I’m not one to cry foul when it comes to technology that allows the inevitable advertising that I’m presented with to be more targeted, but the unknown future of photos that I never intended to share loaded with location information does concern me.
AND, we have all used a friend’s computer or an office computer to login to Facebook and forgot to log out of our account when we’re done. The next time someone goes to Facebook on that computer, your profile will pop up with all of those “private” photos completely accessible (learn how to remotely kill Facebook sessions with this video: http://goo.gl/oI2Xj )
If you haven’t already done so, you may want to turn off location services on your smartphone’s camera so that every picture does not embed the longitude and latitude of where you took the picture. We have posted a video on how to turn it off for Android and iOS users on our YouTube channel, http://goo.gl/L5yHK.
If you have inadvertently turned on the Photo Sync feature, you will see a new option at the bottom of your photo libraries called “Synced.” If you don’t see it, you haven’t turned it on yet.
If you did and want to turn it off, here’s how you do it:
• Open the Facebook app and tap the top-left main menu (three white lines)
• Scroll to the bottom and select Account > App Settings > Sync Photos
• Choose Don’t sync my photos
iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch users
• Open the Facebook app and go to your timeline
• Tap Photos
• At the bottom, tap Synced
• Tap the gear icon and choose Turn off Photo Sync
• Tap Don’t sync my photos
We’ve also created a video for turning off Photo Sync on Android and iOS phones at http://goo.gl/Gf5AQ.
• Ken Colburn is president of Data Doctors Computer Services and host of the Data Doctors Radio Program, noon Saturdays on KTAR 92.3 FM or at www.datadoctors.com/radio. Readers may send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.