It’s 10 o’clock. Do you know where your Facebook photos are?
Well, actually, unlike the once-ubiquitous public service announcement scaring parents about the fate of their children, you could ask that question about your Facebook photos any time — because someone might have kidnapped them and forced them into prostitution.
That’s no joke. One Tennessee woman, 21-year-old Dallas Miller says that her Facebook photos fell victim to exactly that fate. And now she’s embarrassed and doesn’t know what to do because no matter what she does, the photos won’t disappear from the internet.
Dallas Miller, of White Creek, says that she found about what was going on with her Facebook shots only when a friend called her and rather awkwardly told her to look at site Backpage.com, an online classified ad site. In addition to the usual subjects of classified ads, the site also carries ads from prostitutes — or apparent prostitutes — pitching their services, usually with an attractive photograph attached to make their product as appealing as possible.
Miller checked it out and saw her own face, in a glam photo that had been taken as part of a benefit for abused children and posted to Facebook. But there it was, as part of an advertisement promising, “Best time of your life 100% guaranteed satisfaction,” followed by a phone number. The advertisement concluded, “OUTCALL ONLY – 21.”
“It’s been tough,” Miller told a local TV station. “I definitely feel victimized. I was pulled out of a random pool of pictures. This could happen to anyone.”
For the record, Dallas Miller is not a prostitute. Needless to say, the photos were used without her permission. Nonetheless, despite her non-prostitution, Miller says, “Even my price ranges were listed on there.”
Police are checking into who might have misappropriated Dallas Miller’s Facebook photos. But they say the prospects for solving the case are not good because internet fraudsters typically operate through anonymized and even encrypted accounts.
Miller says she was able to persuade Backpage to remove the prostitution ads with her Facebook photos. But the Facebook photos are still floating around the internet.
The best way to avoid having your own photos ending up in prostitution ads or anywhere else you don’t want them to end up is to check your Facebook privacy settings and make sure your photos are not set to “public.”