Friendly warning: hide your FB photos from the Bro Network

This is a Mamamia community service announcement. Well, it’s something we think you should know about, anyway.

A new, private Facebook group has sprung up called the ‘Brocial Network’ and its members are trawling female profile pages for their ‘sexy’ photos. Bikinis, underwear, drunk at parties, you name it.

The sobering thing is, they’re taking these pictures not just from women they don’t know (who have low privacy settings) but from THEIR OWN FACEBOOK FRIENDS.

It’s like a bartering system. Men get accepted to the group but their ongoing membership hinges on their commitment to post at least one photo from their own female friends’ profiles within a week of admittance.

Here’s what The Age had to say about it:

Tillii, a 21-year-old student who is pictured in a bikini with her friends, wasn’t aware that her photo had been circulated via the page.

”It makes me feel sick that people would go to the effort of taking [uploading] the picture and posting it up,” she said. ”I just thought [the picture] would be taken as fun, not as the way that they’ve turned it around.”

Tillii has since been inundated with random ”friend” requests from men she doesn’t know.

While the idea is a digital twist on what some men have been doing manually for years, it doesn’t make the concept any more palatable. And now seems as good a time as any to remind everyone to turn their Facebook privacy settings up as high as they can go.

That will keep the strangers out; but the best way to avoid ending up on the ‘Brocial Network’ is to remove any content you’d be concerned about if it were posted on the wall of a men’s only club.

The creator of the site – known as ‘King Bro’ to his subjects – is selling wristbands that say ‘I’m a Bro’ for $5 a pop and has repeatedly run foul of Facebook’s decency filters with some of the photos.

And that’s the gist of it. The group has either been taken down or remains on private settings since the media attention this morning – but who knows where all those ‘Bros’, and those photos, have ended up?

What are your thoughts? Have you ever had horrendous photos of you tagged by friends on Facebook? Or have you uploaded photos yourself you wouldn’t like turning up elsewhere?

And who’s in the wrong if your public photos are posted elsewhere?

Here’s a basic how-to guide for controlling who can see what is on your Facebook page:

Be warned that Facebook’s privacy settings are extremely detailed – and a little bit of a mess. Here’s a quick run-through of how to change your settings and select exactly who can see what you post on Facebook.

You can find your privacy settings in the drop-down menu under “Account” on the top right-hand side of your Facebook page.

This is the box where you can change your privacy settings

The ‘Sharing on Facebook’ box controls who sees what is on your Facebook. Be warned that this may be set to “Recommended” which lets EVERYONE see your photos, as well as statuses and posts.

The best thing to do is to go to “Custom” settings and click “customise settings” so you can individually set what you’d like everyone to see. From here, you can make sure that ‘friends only’ will see your photos, posts, bio, relationships, etc. From here you can also change the setting for photos you’re tagged in. If you select “Only Me”, nobody else except for you will be able to see the photos other people upload and tag you in – they’ll only be able to see the photos you upload into your own albums.

Take note that you can also click “Preview my Profile” to see how your profile will appear to most people.

And if you don’t want your coworkers or family members to see every photo and status you post, you can also hide certain things from certain people. On the “Customise settings” page, clicking “Customise” will bring up a box with two options: “Make this visible to” and “Hide this from”. Go to “Hide this from” and simply type in a name or 10.

The “Custom Privacy” box

We’ve also covered Facebook rules for parents on Mamamia before – go here to see them.

Most importantly, this won’t solve all your privacy problems. At the end of the day, the safest privacy setting is not uploading embarrassing photos at all.

If you have any questions, pop them in the comments and Tech whiz Nat will get back to you!