It’s every ex-partner’s nightmare. You split with your boyfriend or girlfriend and before you know it they’re posting less than flattering, or even worse, risqué pictures and comments about you all over social media.
And while you may have been happy to pose for those sexy snaps when you were together, you might not be so pleased when a now vengeful ex posts them to Facebook for all and sundry to enjoy.
In this digital-happy, ‘share everything’ age, we’ve become used to playing out our relationships - and subsequent breakdowns - in public. But what steps to do you need to take to maintain a truly private life too? Who owns images you’ve previously shared with another?
So it’s no surprise to hear that an increasing number of couples are entering into what are being dubbed ‘social media pre-nups’.
Already popular in America the contracts - stating clear parameters for how and where material relating to or shared during a partnership can be shared - are gaining popularity here too.
British divorce lawyer, Ayesha Vardag, has added one into the standard prenup she and her fiancé have already drawn up. It means that if their relationship breaks down they can’t post ‘confidential’ information about each other - including photographs - without the other’s permission.
Agreements can be legally binding with financial penalties made against parties that break the rules. And while most of us won’t ever actually enter into a formal pre-nup, we do need to consider how we retain our dignity without killing the romance when it comes to managing social media and relationships.
Experts say it is always worth establishing some digital ground rules to make sure the course of true love - or post-break up friendship - always runs smoothly.
As Simon Wadsworth, director of online reputation management company Igniyte, explains: “We live in a world where information can be shared more easily and more quickly than ever before. That can be very liberating but it also something we need to think carefully about and try and control.”
“Protecting your personal information and reputation is just as important online as it is in real life so we’d advise couples to take a pro-active approach to staying safe - and happy.
“After all, it’s much easier to talk about what kind of content you are comfortable sharing when you’re at the start of a relationship, than when things have gone wrong.”
With This Tweet I Thee Wed…
Romantic Dos and Don’t for a Social Media Age:
- Talk About It:
- It’s not the most romantic conversation you’ll ever have but it’s a necessary one. Talk to your partner about which content and images you’re willing to share - and how these will be managed in the event of relationship breakdown. Is anything off limits? Do you need permission from each other to post confidential words and pictures? How much do you trust your partner to have intimate photos on their phone, tablet or other device?
- Check Privacy Settings:
- Make sure you only share information with people you trust by checking and controlling privacy settings across your different social media profiles. If you want to stay risk-free don’t post intimate pictures anywhere online.
- Beware of Screen Grabs:
- Apps like Snapchat offer instant, throwaway messaging where content is automatically deleted but be careful - it can still be screen grabbed and re-posted. It’s easy to get carried away, especially in flirtatious situations, so be cautious about what you send others.
- Monitor Yourself:
- Set up free Google alerts to check what is being said or posted about you online - that way you can respond quickly to anything you aren’t happy with.
- If Things Do Go Wrong…
- Don’t panic. Adult content - including pictures and videos - shouldn’t show up in a generic Google searches. If you suspect someone has posted something, contact the website or social platform directly or use the Google Removal Tool to request that it is taken down, particularly if it’s showing content ranking for your name.