My Photo Is Being Used in an Advert: Now What?

A huge number of photos are uploaded every day to platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Getting lots of recognition and hits is generally a good thing. However, you might get unwanted attention too. The experience may differ if a company uses your photos without your permission.

Many have seen their own photos in advertisements. You’ve probably seen them too—strangers seemingly promoting a product or service—but they might not be actual models. Their images could’ve been stolen from social media. These unsolicited exploitations take advantage and potentially ruin reputations.

So is this legal? How does it work? And what can you do if you find your photo being used in an advert?

How Do People Find Their Faces in Ads?

Most people don’t live in fear that their photos may end up in an online ad, so they don’t actively look for their pictures.

If you feel proactive, you may perform an occasional reverse image search to reveal where your pictures have appeared online. These searches are not foolproof but offer some valuable insight using image-recognition software.

Related: The Best Reverse Image Search Apps for iPhone and Android

Most victims find out about these incidences by accident. Some unlucky people find familiar faces while scrolling through their newsfeed. Worse yet, some only learn about it when friends or family members send them an embarrassing screenshot of an advertisement or company page using their face.

Why Should I Care About My Photo in Adverts?shocked

You own your appearance, and no one should use it without asking first. Online fame is something many desire. While the lifestyle of a model or an influencer seems glamorous, you should have reservations about a company using your images without permission.

From a business perspective, you want to make sure that you receive compensation for them using your images. Companies often pay or offer incentives for using your face—they can’t get something for nothing. At the very least, a company should credit or source your images for exposure.

There is a more sinister thing you should worry about. Depending on the nature of the advertisement, you may end up as the face of something you don’t want to represent.

Consider the impact of your reputation if your picture appears on a pop-up for a scandalous site or embarrassing product. Imagine what your parents or partner may say if your image suddenly appears in an advertisement for a dating site claiming you are an active user.

What Should I Do if I Find My Pictures in Ads?

If you find your pictures popping up in ads, the first thing you should do is screenshot them. Don’t simply save the post in your feed as you want to make sure you have visual proof of the violation before anyone has the chance to delete it. Collecting evidence is incredibly important for handling the rest of this venture.

Many cases are against the law, and you may pursue legal action depending on the area you live in.

There are different approaches you should consider when seeking justice. As local regulations and organizations vary, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with the relevant laws and who to contact.

If you simply want to get the photo removed, you may not need legal intervention.

Report the advertisement on the site you saw it on. While many platforms offer a way to report advertisements, they probably have nothing to do with making the ads in the first place. In fact, there is some debate whether Facebook and Google do enough with ad management.

They can take the ads down from their site, but you should probably reach out to the company directly affiliated with the ad.

Companies should not use any photos in their ads without consent. Generally, when you catch a company using images illegally, an email is more than enough to make them take it down. If not, you must consider reaching out to a lawyer.

Getting formal legal advice is the best way to handle any further problems. Talk to a lawyer to get the most accurate advice for your jurisdiction. The process from here includes filing official complaints with respective agents and managing a cease-and-desist letter.

You may be liable for compensation; however, don’t expect to get rich off any proceedings. Illegally using photos can be challenging to fight and, once taken down, it’s difficult to prove.

Also, keep into consideration that many people unknowingly provide permission for photo use without even realizing it…

We all do something that unknowingly leaves our photos vulnerable. The perfect example comes from a rumor that went viral.

The rumor claimed that a young man ended up in hot water when his girlfriend saw his face in an advertisement for a dating site. The boyfriend reached out to the company to get the picture removed, only for them to refuse. While he threatened legal actions, they fought back and said they did own those photos.

According to the story, the boyfriend had used the dating site before. The company got the pictures for the ad right off his profile. The site argued their policies allowed them to use any media posted on their platform as they saw fit.

It’s not hard to believe: an overwhelming number of us scroll through the terms of conditions of a website and agree without so much as skimming the content.

Although it seems tedious and unnecessary to know precisely what a platform does with our information, it is worth researching if websites you post on automatically own your content.

Sometimes, image-sharing sites reserve the right to use any pictures you upload as you see fit. If you aren’t careful, you may accidentally hand your photos to the wrong people. Keeping track of the policies of the sites you use and making your photos private help protect you.

Should I Worry About My Online Pictures?

Most people use social media without ever needing to deal with someone stealing their photos. While these events are unsettling, in most cases, getting them taken down is a relatively straightforward process.

Making sure you read the fine print and staying on the lookout for any suspicious activity are effective strategies to protect your appearance.

Author: Brittni Devlin

Source: Brittni Devlin.” My Photo Is Being Used in an Advert: Now What?”. Retrieved From

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