What the Tech? How a Stranger Can Use Your Facebook Photos

When Becky Smith logged onto Facebook recently she noticed something rather bizarre in the section “People You May Know”.

She recognized a photo of her three children but she did not recognize the name of the Facebook user who was using it as his profile picture.

“My mouth dropped. I was wondering if I was really seeing this for real. I couldn’t believe it.”

Smith, who lives in Archdale, North Carolina told me the profile belonged to someone named Kenny Ayscue of King William, Virginia. They had no friends in common and she lived some 300 miles away from King William, VA.

“I just couldn’t understand how, first of all, he got my photo and then why he would have it as his profile,” she explained.

She reported the profile to Facebook then reported the photo. She then sent the user a private message but it doesn’t appear he ever saw it. She then started contacting friends of Ayscue who told her they only knew of him through other friends.

Facebook did respond to her reports.

“I got two responses back saying they investigated it and did not find anything wrong with it, that he was not trying to impersonate me,” she said.

When she checked the profile again she saw it had been deleted. There is no Kenny Ayscue from King Willliam, Virginia on Facebook. Whoever had the profile deleted it.

This type of thing has happened before.

A couple of years ago a Facebook user reported that a Facebook friend downloaded photos of her baby and then used them to try to extort money from former boyfriends by claiming the baby was hers and they were the father.

The victim learned of the scam from another friend who told her their current boyfriend had received the photos in a text message.

How does this happen?

Any photo that is posted publicly on Facebook or anywhere on the internet can be viewed and downloaded by anyone, even people who are not on Facebook. In the case of Becky Smith, it appears that the person chose her picture at random and she was just fortunate enough to have noticed it had been stolen.

She has since changed the settings on her photos and suggests other Facebook users do the same.

“I definitely feel like you need to go to your settings and change it if it’s public to make it private so that only your friends can see.”

As for the why, we can only speculate.

The Facebook user may have created the profile to be used with Facebook dating and chose pictures of her three kids to match the profile they wanted to portray.

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