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Tag Photos: Understanding Facebook Photo Tagging

Learn How to Tag Photos and Configure Your Tagging Privacy Settings


Pile of portrait prints arranged with woman on top
Dimitri Otis / Digital Vision / Getty Images

Facebook has allowed its users to tag photos for a few years now, but quite a few of the tagging features and permissions have changed over time. If you’re feeling a little lost about how everything works, consider reading through the following before playing around with the photo tagging features on Facebook.

What Exactly Does It Mean to “Tag a Photo”?

When you tag a photo, you create a “special kind of link” as Facebook puts it. It links a person’s profile to the photo, and the person tagged in the photo is notified. If your photo settings and their privacy settings are mostly set to public, the photo will show up on their own personal profile and in the news feed of their friends.

As an example, you may upload a photo of you and a friend on Facebook. You can then tag the person’s face in that photo. The tag link will show up often as “ - with John Smith” in the description of the photo.

Your friend is then notified that they were tagged, and it will show up in their photos section on their personal profile. If your photo album is set to public and your friend’s photo sharing settings are also set to public, a story labeled “John Smith was tagged in [your name]’s photos.”

Configuring Your Tagging Settings

Facebook has a whole section dedicated to the timeline and tagging. At the top of your profile, look for the little down arrow icon besides the Home button on the top right. Choose “Privacy Settings.” and then look for “Timeline and Tagging.” Select “Edit Settings.” You’ll notice a number of tagging options here after the first two timeline options.

Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline?: Set this to “On” if you don’t want these tagged photos to go live before you approve each of them. You can reject the tag if you don’t want to be tagged. This is can be a useful feature for avoiding unflattering photos from showing up on your profile suddenly for all your friends to see.

Who can see posts you’ve been tagged in on your timeline?: If you set this to “Everyone” then every user that views your profile will be able to see tagged photos of you, even if you’re not friends with them. On the other hand, you can choose the “Customize” option so that only close friends or even just you alone can see your tagged photos.

Review tags friends add to your own posts on Facebook: Your friends can tag themselves or you in photos belonging to your own albums. If you want to be able to approve or reject them before they go live, you can do this by selecting “On.”

Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded?: This option is not yet available at time of writing, but we expect that that you’ll be able to choose the regular options like friends, friends of friends, everyone, or custom for setting privacy options.

How to Tag a Photo

Tagging a photo is very easy. When you’re viewing a photo on Facebook, look for the “Tag Photo” option at the bottom. Click on the photo (such as a friend’s face) to start the tagging. A dropdown box with your friend list should appear, so you can select the friend or type in their name to find them faster. Select “Done Tagging” when you’ve finished tagging all your friends in the photo. You can add an option location or edit whenever you want.

How to Remove a Tag

You can remove a tag someone gave you by viewing the photo, selecting “Options” at the bottom and then selecting “Report/Remove Tag.” Now you have two options to choose from.

I want to remove the tag: Check this box to remove the tag from your profile and from the photo.

Ask to have the photo removed from Facebook: If you this photo is inappropriate in any way, you can report it to Facebook so they can decide if it needs to be removed.

For more information about Facebook photo tagging, you can visit Facebook’s official Help page that may help you answer anymore of your questions about photo tagging.

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