The Big Question: Does it matter if you have drunk or embarrassing photos on Facebook?


Shocked photo


The Big Question aims to answer those queries that students find themselves asking everyday- the big and the small; the serious and the silly. Stuck at an impossible crossroads? Let Impact help you make an informed decision.

“Once you put something on the internet, it’s out there forever.”- Sufi argues YES.

Social media has become a force of its own, with a recent survey suggesting that Facebook now has a whopping 1.15 billion users. The well known phrase ‘once you put something on the Internet it’s out there forever’ has never been more true. Photos we put on Facebook can be accessed by almost anyone no matter how strict your privacy settings, from private detectives, the police, and even employers who can look up your profile to search whether you are portraying yourself appropriately.

Websites such as the popular online guide ‘job searching’ underline the fact that you should not post anything you would not want an employer to see. I have a distinct memory of a member of staff at my old school recollecting a story concerning a man he was about to hire. To his horror, when he Facebook-searched the man, his profile picture was a shot of him smoking a bong. Needless to say, he didn’t get the job.

His profile picture was a shot of him smoking a bong. Needless to say, he didn’t get the job

A drunk messy photo does not scream professional, trustworthy or responsible to anyone. There is definitely the argument that in England it is common to socially drink and have a few embarrassing nights out, and this is widely accepted. The photos can be unproblematic- if they are not too incriminating. But I think it is important to remember that somewhere down the line, an embarrassing shot could matter.

Celebrities have shocking teenage photos reappearing constantly, ruining both their credibility and sometimes their careers. The video of X factor judge and musician Tulisa Contostavlos’ sex tape posted on the Internet sent her into a series of lawsuits and public embarrassment. Now, while this was all over the Internet, not specifically Facebook, it highlights how easily something we deem acceptable in our youth can resurface publicly later on. Once it’s ‘out there’, there’s no way of rectifying it.

Once it’s ‘out there’, there’s no way of rectifying it.

I think it is important to be aware of photos on Facebook- these pictures could fall into anyones hands, and our posts should reflect what we are not afraid of a stranger viewing.

Sufi Rahimi

“Without drunk and embarrassing photos, the illusion of your interesting life diminishes”- Sarah argues NO

Let’s face it, pretty much every student has at least one drunk or embarrassing photo of themselves on Facebook. Now that almost all of your friends have smartphones with Internet and a camera, you can be pretty sure that that photo of you passed out on the toilet will be up on the internet before you even wake up.

However, almost a third of all UK companies have admitted to checking potential employees’ Facebook profiles, meaning that having your profile photo as yourself next to a giant penis might end up costing you a job.

But is deleting these photos really the answer? Deleting all of your drunk or embarrassing photos off Facebook comes with a cost when it comes to your friends. I mean, how else are you supposed to convince people that your life is exciting when the only photos on your profile involve you reading various textbooks? With nine out of ten using Facebook to keep a tab on their exes, how are you meant to show your former lover that you’re better off without them when you don’t have photos of you downing jaegerbombs and dressed as a giraffe to prove it? Without drunk and embarrassing photos, the illusion of your interesting life diminishes – and it’s a lot more boring when you end up Facebook stalking yourself at 3am.

How else are you supposed to convince people that your life is exciting?

There could be some situations where drunk photos may actually help you. A potential employer may see you recklessly balancing four open beer cans and admire your dexterity – an essential skill for waitressing. Another may see that photo of you in a mankini and realise that you would have no shame in wearing their employees’ hideous uniform.

But if you’re really worried about the possibility of your elderly grandparents learning about your drunken antics or potential employees checking for spotless professionalism, then it is never a bad idea to keep an eye on your privacy settings. Keep most of your photos to “just friends”, make sure your cover photo is appropriate and create a list of family members to block from seeing posts that would raise eyebrows over family dinners.

It is never a bad idea to keep an eye on your privacy settings.

Nosy employers and prying family members doesn’t mean that you have to monitor everything on your profile to make yourself seem professional. Just keep an eye on your privacy settings and you can use Facebook however you want to.

Sarah Dear

Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

FeaturesLead articles
5 Comments on this post.
  • Pipa
    12 September 2013 at 19:38
    Leave a Reply

    I really don’t think you can refer to Tulisa’s sex tape as ‘something we deem acceptable in our youth’. As far as I know Sex tapes are never acceptable.

    • Ben
      17 October 2013 at 23:17
      Leave a Reply

      The point is that Tulisa thought it was acceptable in her youth, not that everyone makes sex tapes in their youth/ thinks its acceptable

  • katie K
    17 October 2013 at 23:12
    Leave a Reply

    She was giving a blow job. are you a mormon?

  • Anonymous
    17 October 2013 at 23:15
    Leave a Reply

    The point was that Tulisa thought it was fine when she was younger, not that everyone would make a sex tape/ everyone approves.

  • Rickie
    18 October 2013 at 16:53
    Leave a Reply

    Oh Dear Sarah! However did people demonstrate they were fun and interesting people before Facebook? They must have used their conversation and interactions with real human beings to establish their reputation. If the only way to prove you aren’t boring is to plaster teh internets with drunk photos, maybe it’s time to give up.

  • Leave a Reply