When My Daughter Appeared in an 'Am I Beautiful?' Facebook Post Without My Consent
My 11-year-old daughter was born with a bleed in her brain and has cerebral palsy. She has had six brain surgeries and multiple major orthopedic surgeries on her hips, knee and Achilles’ tendons. She is truly my hero.
Today, she walks independently and often prefers to hold my hand. However, several years ago she was still learning to walk with crutches and long braces up her legs. It was at this time that an online publication wrote an article about my daughter after we were wrongly detained by the TSA.
I was shocked to find a photo from that article shared on Facebook recently by someone I don’t know as one of the “Am I beautiful? Type ‘Yes and Amen’” posts. I’ll admit that I’ve seen these before and haven’t given them much thought — however, my friend saw my daughter and called me. I thought there was no way it was my child, but when I saw the post my heart broke. I didn’t ask for this, and I certainly didn’t give my consent. How does a complete stranger have the right to use my daughter’s photo for this purpose? The post as of today has received 33,000 comments, 61,000 likes and 3,900 shares.
A few of my immediate thoughts that day:
1. This must be removed ASAP.
The privacy settings on Facebook control content that you have posted, but it is impossible to stop predators from copying pictures of our children that appear anywhere online. I attempted to remove the post by filing an online complaint that my minor daughter’s privacy rights had been violated without our consent. I never received a response from Facebook, but within 24 hours the item was removed. It was shared so many times before this though that I believe it’s probably still in circulation.
2. Facebook should have a responsibility to stop these posts.
Social media is wonderful when you want to share pictures of your kids, but it can be a massive black hole when someone else posts a picture. I felt completely helpless. I do not see any upside for Facebook to allow this type of piracy to continue.
3. Do not comment about (even “Amen”) or share pictures of children with disabilities.
You don’t know the whole story. You aren’t familiar with the parent’s perspective or the reason the photo was taken in the first place. This is exploitation. These children may be suffering or embarrassed about their condition. “Amens” on Facebook are not going to help.
4. My daughter doesn’t need pity.
My daughter is an amazing child. She is consistently making progress in areas we never expected. She loves school, loves dance class and her iPad and can’t wait to go to camp this summer.
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