IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Accidentally Uploaded a Naked Picture of Myself as My Facebook Profile Pic

The only person with the integrity to look out for me and tell me my ass is floating out freestyle is some girl who was a friend of a friend in HIGH SCHOOL.
Publish date:
September 17, 2013
privacy, social media, facebook, tech, M

NSFW photo below.

Last Saturday night, unable to sleep, I decided to Google search myself.

I know that sounds weird or vain, but it’s necessary and I try to do it whenever I remember. I’m a landlord, a teacher, and have worked with several dangerous and mentally unstable individuals, so I prefer to monitor what is being said about me on the Internet, in case I have to set the record straight.

This search turned up several sites I had never heard of before, all encouraging me to join so that I could follow...myself…

There I was: my name, my face, my occupation and a button that when clicked, told me I had to join to access the rest of [my] profile. I had never heard of any of these sites, and started to panic.

The picture was my current Facebook profile pic that, last time I checked, was private. So I headed over to the FB.

Once again, they had changed their privacy settings, and no matter how hard I tried I could not set my profile pic or timeline pic to private. So to protect my anonymity, I deleted all the pics that weren’t my dog, and I set about changing my gullible, smiling face to a sunset. That's when I accidentally uploaded a naked picture of myself.

How to accidentally upload a butt pic:

Step 1) Click Add Photo

Step 2) While looking for a benign landscape shot, find weird, unflattering nude photos of yourself on your hard drive

Step 3) Click Command & Down (in order to highlight other unflattering photos to delete…)

Congrats! That weird pic destined for your little trash bin icon is now your online face to the world. Well done late night multi-tasker!

Could this be any more awkward? I was moving out of my apartment in Queens into my first house in Brooklyn and resolved that losing weight would be part of this next adult phase of my life. I took the obligatory before pics using Photobooth on my Mac. I guess the proper way is to wear a bikini and place your hands on your hips. Not stand downcast facing a wall like some S&M foreplay game with a lens that screams peeping-tom-creepy-neighbor!

OK. OK. Don’t worry. It’s not that big of a deal. Yes, after it uploaded, I had to wait the pressure-filled 60 seconds before I could delete it -- but if it wasn’t even ready to delete, certainly it couldn’t have gone out to my extensive fake-friend online network right?

Troubleshooting worst-case scenario: What if it did make its way to the feed? Easy, it’s already deleted, so by the time someone actually clicked to see why the hell the junk-in-my-trunk was hanging on their wall, it was gone. Problem solved, and I went back to erasing myself from the Internet.

Now, a little more conscious of my humanity after this incident, I’m even more outraged that these trolling sites have somehow gathered information to make a profile with my name, my picture, AND my occupation, without my permission. I’m taking screenshots, I’m writing emails, I’m doing my due diligence and contacting the Better Business Bureau...and then I see I have a Facebook message from Lila[1].

So much of me hates Facebook, but connecting with people from my near and far past is exactly why I love Facebook. Last week I heard from a girl I did a women’s leadership workshop with 15 years ago. At the time, we became fast friends, but quickly fell out of touch when the workshop ended (Facebook wasn’t invented yet). Now Lila, who I haven’t spoken to since 9th grade AP Biology is reaching out.

From Lila (paraphrased):

I just saw your ass in my feed.

Your profile says you’re a teacher.

I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt that this is something you wouldn’t want on your profile, and thought you might want to know so you can FIX IT.

There’s a lot I want to tell you guys right now, but before all I just want to say what a decent freaking person Lila is. You’re kidding me right? The only person with the integrity to look out for me and tell me my ass is floating out freestyle is some girl who was a friend of a friend in HIGH SCHOOL. I mean, I do have real friends on Facebook, right?

So listen up: To all my silently watching, hoping I will assume you didn’t see it, punk-ass-cowardly friends, guess what? When I am fired for pornographic material and exposing myself to minors -- I’m sleeping on your couch, and I’m NOT paying you back.

Thank you Lila for alerting me to danger. Maybe the stars did align and she happened to be the one person who saw the pic in the uploading-deleting window. Just to be safe though, I go back to my profile, back to my privacy settings, and click on "view as public."


There I am, in all my glory. As you may recall, in my last sweep I deleted all pictures that I couldn’t change to private except for the timeline photo of my dog (I mean, I don’t want people to think I’m weird, or have something to hide, right?). So there we are, my ass, and my dog. The symbolic images I offer to represent myself to the Internet public.

Somehow, in the 10 years I’ve used Facebook, and the numerous privacy notices I’ve received (and haven’t read), I still haven’t figured out how this Facebook privacy thing works. You see, FB and I have a different understanding of the word "delete." For me, delete means remove_permanently_not to be seen again. For FB, delete means: no longer visible as the first photo at this location but still stored as the most recent picture displayed at this location.

Of course, the default setting for the picture was public, because despite the fact that for years I have always chosen to have all of my information and photos private, limiting even who can search for me, add me, etc., with this new privacy policy, Facebook has assumed I want everything public unless otherwise specified, and even then I don’t have a choice when it comes to my current profile and timeline photo.

That my friends, is how I uploaded a naked ass pic to my profile, and kept it there for the pleasure of the public.

In the scheme of things, this is a small, funny (after the fact) moment. What is bigger, and scarier is that the information available about me from a simple Google search is increasing exponentially. Addresses, occupation, (supposed) salary, educational history, pictures, related family members, comments on social media sites, profiles, and a lot of these things I don’t control over because they’ve been posted by other people or contain information that is technically "public."

It doesn’t help that job-social-media merging sites demand my face now along with my resume. (Side note: Isn't that illegal??? It is in the U.S., when it’s on paper, but for some reason its OK to ask on the internet??)

I am concerned that my face is EVERYWHERE (online). I don't want it to be, and at this point I don't know how to control it. I have two choices: 1) Walden-style; quit the internet and have all who know me wonder who broke my heart making social media too painful; or 2) post nude pictures of my ASS and get kicked out.

My sassy-self definitely thought about keeping the elicit cheek-pic up. Hey weird website(s) I've never heard of before: You "stole" my picture -- how's the view? But that thought - perhaps the most genuine thought -- was a tiny slice in the panic pie I ate and threw up that night.

I don’t have a Facebook profile picture anymore, and only one of the sites I contacted responded, and removed [my] profile. So even though you can’t Google my name to find my naked booty anymore, I still feel pretty exposed online.

Why I am OK with posting my hard-core BDSM [diet] pics here, but my face on le face-book is off limits? Using my powers of self-reflection, I would say I want to protect my privacy while having freedom of self-expression. I am consciously choosing to engage here: ass-pic, face-pic, embarrassing life story, whatever. It may not be popular, but I still believe that my identity is exclusively my property and no other individual or entity has any similar right to represent me without my permission.

Good thing I never got that ass tattoo of my surname, right?


[1] Name changed to protect the innocent.