A new in-depth study on the use of images by photo-sharing websites and other social media suggests that some of the most popular names are removing photographers’ metadata from photos.
A new report from the International Press Telecommunications Council has revealed that some of the biggest names in social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, are removing metadata from the images they host.
Even the wildly popular photo-sharing website Flickr scored poorly and ranked as one of the worst offenders in the IPTC tests.
Google+, however, was the top performer, achieving a near perfect score in every category of testing. Social blogging site Tumblr also scored highly in protecting photographers’ data.
According to the IPTC, the study began by uploading a reference picture embedded with Exif metadata in an Exif header and IPTC metadata in an IIM header and an XMP header to every popular social media and photo-sharing website.
The IPTC then conducted four tests to check whether the website displayed the metadata correctly, included what it calls the 4Cs (caption, creator, copyright notice and credit) and whether it preserved metadata when downloading the image both via the website’s user interface (such as a download button) or using File > Save As in your web browser.
“Professional photographers work hard to get specific information — like captions, copyright and contact information — embedded into their image files, therefore it’s often a shock when they learn that the social media system they chose has removed the information without any warning to them”, said David Riecks of ControlledVocabulary.com, a member of the IPTC test team.
He added: “Since some countries are in the midst of passing ‘Orphan Works’ laws, any files that are ‘stripped’ may be considered potential ‘orphans’ without having any copyright protection.”