What to do if my ex has posted a private picture of me online?

UPDATED: Jan 8, 2014

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What to do if my ex has posted a private picture of me online?

About a year ago I sent a private picture to somebody I was dating at the time. We broke up about 9 months ago but a week ago, she posted the photo as her default picture on social network. What can I do to make her stop and know that was a wrong thing to do.

Asked on January 8, 2014 under Personal Injury, California


Gregory Abbott / Consumer Law Northwest

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If I understand your question correctly, you are saying that she is posting a photo of you and representing it to be a photo of her?  There are a variety of possible approaches, depending in part upon which social network site and whether it is based in the US (I am assuming that she is a USA resident).  It may be that a stern letter from you, or better yet, from an attorney representing you, to either the social network site and/or to her demanding immediate retraction and no re-posting or it/she may face a lawsuit could, and hopefully would, resolve the problem.  If it doesn't, your choice essentially comes down to either live with it; persuade her to voluntarily comply; or file suit, under a variety of possible legal theories, including but not limited to, seeking an injunction banning the further use of the photo, any of which might work but none of which were really designed to handle this sort of modern situation.  Depending upon the exact facts and legal theory, you might or might not be able to recover your attorneys fees from her or them if you went to court and prevailed but if your goal is to minimize the exposure and keep things as quiet and private as is reasonably possible, suing either in court makes it a potentially very public matter (though on a practical basis, how many folks besides attorneys and the Press in high profile cases go to the court house and actually review case files?) and effectively throws fuel on the fire when you really want the fire to die down and go out as soon as possible.  In the end, there is no substitute for either not providing such photos to anyone else or knowing them well enough ahead of time to REALLY trust that no matter what happens in the future, they will not resort to this sort of behavior.  Any attorney that reviews the matter for you is going to want to see the posting and webpage before writing either party a "cease and desist" sort of letter.  I would guess, just from the very limited information provided, that you would be looking at about an hour to an hour and a half of attorney time to review things and write the letter, but might incur more time to deal with replies/responses if necessary.   Good luck. 

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