Even if your social media threats are more a whimper or an annoyance than a full-scale war from internet strangers, you can still keep images of your house (and ideally, your address) from sitting around on Facebook.
According to New York Times columnist Ben Smith, the solution is as easy as reporting posts (including written words and/or images, if I’m correct in my interpretation of Facebook’s rules) that show off your address. As he writes:
If the article shows your home or apartment, says what city you’re in and you don’t like it, you can complain to Facebook. Facebook will then ensure that nobody can share the article on its giant platform and, as a bonus, block you from sending it to anyone in Facebook Messenger.
The policy sounds crazy because it could apply to dozens, if not hundreds, of news articles every day — indeed, to a staple of reporting for generations that has included Michael Bloomberg’s expansion of his townhouse in 2009 and the comings and goings of the Hamptons elites. Alex Rodriguez doesn’t like a story that includes a photo of him and his former fiancée, Jennifer Lopez, smiling in front of his house? Delete it. Donald Trump is annoyed about a story that includes a photo of him outside his suite at Mar-a-Lago? Gone. Facebook’s hands, the lawyer told me, are tied by its own policies.
Of course, the actual rules that Facebook uses to determine whether or not it should take action on identifying content are a bit more nuanced than that. But first, here’s Facebook’s general stance on actions it will take against content that runs afoul of the company’s Community Standards (as found in section II.11):
We remove content that shares, offers or solicits personally identifiable information or other private information that could lead to physical or financial harm, including financial, residential, and medical information, as well as private information obtained from illegal sources.
Facebook has a ton of criteria for what qualifies as “personally identifiable” content. However, if we’re just talking about where you live, then here’s the specific section that applies:
Imagery that display the external view of private residences if all of the following conditions apply:
- The residence is a single-family home, or the resident’s unit number is identified in the image/caption
- The city/neighbourhood or GPS pins (for example, a pin from Google Maps) are identified
- The content identifies the resident(s)
- That same resident objects to the exposure of their private residence or there is context of organising protests against the resident (this does not include embassies that also serve as residences)
If you’re in the clear, then all you should have to do is use the “Find support or report post” option via the standard triple-dot icon in the upper-right corner of any Facebook post. Indicate that the content violates Facebook’s Community Standards, make your case, and see if Facebook takes action. And whenever possible, reference the specific section of Facebook’s Community Standards that a post violates.