Privacy bug in Facebook Timeline cover photos

Well just think before you upload a new cover photo on the recently launched Facebook Timeline profile. For those who don’t know, a cover photo is the new banner or header of your profile on Facebook. You can change it and upload a new cover photo or select from the existing photos anytime you want to.

But there’s a privacy bug (feature according to Facebook) in these cover photos. These cover photos are public and anyone on Facebook can access it and view or download your photo even in high-resolution. Moreover not just the current cover photo, but your whole cover photos album is public. Let’s have a look at few things you should know about these cover pics.

  • Cover Photos are ‘Public’ and anyone on Facebook can see it.
  • Not just your current cover photo, but your whole album is publicly visible.
  • This album is visible to people in your restricted list as well.
  • People can download or view all your cover photos.
  • Unfortunately there’s no way of hiding a cover photo or its album. It’s public by default.
  • You have to manually delete a cover photo to hide it from public.

Keeping these photos public isn’t a good idea and there should be an option of making this album private. I hope Facebook will change it after another legal action against them for invading user privacy.

Editor’s Note: We missed that Facebook informs about public status of a cover photo as cited by Dnyanesh Mankar. Still we feel that the entire album should not have been made public by default.

Published by sauravjit

An Engineer, Blogger, Photographer who loves Coffee, Driving, Apple & iPhone β™₯

72 replies on “Privacy bug in Facebook Timeline cover photos”

    1. Yes but there should be an option of making it private. Also whats the use of making whole album visible to public?

  1. Facebook will be able to answer that question correctly.

    Here’s what I think:
    If you were to make the cover photos private then the people who are not your friends won’t be able to view the cover pic on your profile which defeats the purpose of the cover photo feature.

    1. Here making cover photo private means to make your cover photo album private not to hide the cover photo banner from your profile.

      Just like showing current profile pic to non-friends is fine but opening whole profile pics album for public is not a good idea at all.

    2. That is EXACTLY the point!! We should be able to post pics without sharing them with the entire world! Why have the other privacy settings?! I don’t want people who are not my FB friends to be able to see my cover photos.

    1. As a banner these pics are just 852X312px. but when u click on that pic you can download the pic in actual size which can be more than 2500X3600px. as well.

      Secondly if a girl is using her own pic and someone tries to save it, if the album is not private he can save all the pics in just few seconds.

      1. I am aware of that. Also, the girl should know that the cover photo she chooses to upload/set will be public and if she’s paranoid about her privacy then she won’t upload cover photos in the first place.

        1. That’s why I wrote this post so as to make more and more people aware of it. And even if a girl is using her pic as cover and someone’s saving it then that will be a fault of Facebook not that girl. We can’t restrict anyone’s independence just because she’s a girl.Let’s hope fb will add a privacy option for cover pics.

          1. I totally agree with sauravjit. There should be an option to make the cover photos private. If it’s public, there should only one public photo (the current one that you use is shown on your problem) but the public should not be able to see who liked the photos and who commented on it. Why can’t public photos have the same setting option as profile photos.

        2. So in your world, people shouldn’t be able to change their minds? I uploaded a photo of my kids, and then changed my mind about using it. I uploaded a new photo that I’m happy with, and am now having a heck of a time deleting the original photo from the Cover album. I get that you think the warning is enough, but that doesn’t cover the fact that my photos are mine, and I should be able to delete them from public view whenever I want.

          1. Just click on the picture and look at the top right there is an round icon and you have the option to delete your picture.. I did it and it worked !!!


          2. i agree i didnt realize that you couldnt delete the cover photos either now there public and i cant get rid of them so i might have to close account and re open one lata. face book time line sucks big time

    2. Are you kidding? Not only are the cover photos public, each and every comment on them is public too. People who are not connected to me at all can see what my friends names are, what they said, and so on. Sorry, this is a blatant breach of common sense. FB’s privacy thinking is idiotic.

  2. I think you’re on the wrong tangent. I think you took this thing in the wrong way. The whole concept of the cover photo focuses on being public to each and every user. Also it clearly states that it’ll be public. So Facebook has already taken the efforts to notify the users that the pics will be public. The decision rests in the hands of the public whether to upload pics or not. It’s not an issue of a girl or a boy and nor of their independence. If someone is concerned about his or her privacy then he should not use it in the first place. Making cover pics private is like making profile pics private. Strangers won’t be able to see the cover pic so what’s the use of it? Once you’re friends with somebody, you hardly visit their profile. Facebook has hired a lot of smart people to work for them, they must have thought of it and then released it to the public.

    I rest my case.

      1. Agree totally! WHY should our comments and other peoples comments be public??? This means that ANYONE can find out who knows me through my cover photo, it’s disgraceful. If FB wish to be controlling and show our cover photos grrr, sobeit, but our comments and likes should be PRIVATE.

  3. But what’s the point in making the album private? The pics were once public. I know that Facebook is engulfed in lawsuits concerning the privacy but the users should also know that: β€œIf you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.”

  4. i personally HATE the cover photos being public. And I know a lot of my friends feel the same way. Web designer here – you CAN find a way to put in a default cover for the public, while allowing friends only pictures. I’m thinking they just wanted to get timeline out the door as fast as possible, and were too lazy to try and put in a few things for those of us who truly relish and enjoy having a private side to facebook.

    Just because YOU dont get why someone wants to be private, doesnt mean you shouldnt cater to them. Typical egotistical attitiude – put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

    1. So true buddy, but some people don’t this PRIVACY thing. May be they like to save cover pics from other profiles.

  5. Don’t like that people on my restricted list can comment on all my cover photos, click through them all, etc. If they are restricted, there is a reason, and they shouldnt’ be able to comment on the photos or click through past ones. The profile should be virtually static and unclickable for the restricted list. Facebook needs to change this.

  6. i hate cover pics being public now even strangers can view these defeating the purpose of making every thing else private,plus the risk of people creating a new profile with the aquired photos.facebook is a stupid idiot!!!

    1. i totally agree….infact something like this has already started to happen. Somebody has saved my Cover Pic and used it to create a fake profile of me. i really really hope that we can have an option as to whether we want our Cover pics to be visible(and if yes to who?) or no. Facebook should do something about this because not uploading a Cover pic just because someone may misuse it cannot be a solution.

  7. yea, why must i share all the cover photos to the public, even for those i restricted? where are all my privacy gone? whats with this stupid idea facebook comes up to?
    is there any ways to disable the facebook timeline?

  8. Ok for the public pic, but how can I prevent someone who’s not (anymore) a friend to write a comment in it??? Can’t find this privacy setting!

  9. To delete any of ur photo in coverphoto or profile picture, just open the activity log on ur timeline. scroll down and look for the picture in the activity log page. right clik on the picture and clink open in new window. then u ‘ll see a deleting option below the pic…. delete it and enjoy….

    have good time πŸ™‚

  10. easy way is to click on gear on top right of page and select delete picture from the drop down list.

  11. You should have the option, just like you have the option as to if your profile pictures album is public or not. I agree this needs to be fixed. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Is there no possible way to remove a cover photo at all??? I really want to remove one of the pictures in that album, because my boyfriend doesn’t want his picture to be on facebook. Now I can’t even remove my own picture. Almost reason enough for me to delete my whole facebook account, because they keep on having privacy issues and I’m getting tired of it.

  13. I don’t mind the pics being public, though as usual we ought to have the choice about this, its the fact that anyone can see likes and comments under the pics that concerns me. So I’ve just gone and deleted them all on mine.

  14. How can u manually delete the pics in the cover photo . can you please tell me that ?

    1. I just manually deleted them in the same way as any other pics in any other album.
      After they was gone I could also delete the actual album , but it ‘magically’ came back, but it was still empty.

    2. To delete any of ur photo in coverphoto or profile picture, just open the activity log on ur timeline. scroll down and look for the picture in the activity log page. right clik on the picture and clink open in new window. then u β€˜ll see a deleting option below the pic.

  15. Facebook sucks.

    why they just cant do the same with cover photos like they have done with profile pictures?

    public and restricted people can see you profile picture but they cannot open it and so they are not able to comment or like the profile picture not even they can see any comments or likes.

    same they can do with cover photos. let people see the cover photos like they see profile picture but there should be a privacy editing same like profile pictures.

  16. Mark Zuckerberg claims that he has nothing to hide, so in his narcissistic world, everybody else should share everything publicly on the internet too. The lack of privacy settings on cover photos is just the beginning, eventually there will be no privacy options on Facebook at all and they’ll say, if you don’t like it, don’t use Facebook. And who’s going to quit, really? People will just go along with it, just like they’ve gone along with all the other creepy things that Facebook has done over the years.

    1. Everyone has his own views Liza. We have full right to privacy and that’s why I wrote this port to inform others.

  17. I HATE the fact that the whole cover photo album is public. Yesterday I sat and went through my old cover pictures (boredom). I had pictures of me, family and then some pictures of nature, etc. On one of my pictures it showed that it was shared once. O_o I looked to see who shared my picture and it was some random pervert who I knew nothing of. I proceeded to look @ his profile and he had pictures of naked women and all of his FB friends were women who were just about naked in their profile pictures. How in the hell is it possible that random people can view/share MY stuff w/o my permission?! I feel TOTALLY violated, was sure to report it to FB but I do hope that they will correct this nonsense ASAP!

    1. That’s true, that’s why it’s more like a bug than a feature. People can even like your cover pics if privacy settings are not proper.

  18. I don’t mind that it’s visible to the public – but it shouldn’t be an album and it SHOULD NOT be shareable – now “enemies” of mine are able to share my cover photo and write ANYTHING they want on it – even if they’re not my friend, they’re able to write comments! I’ve had business “sharing” my PERSONAL page cover photo on their business page – TOTALLY NOT COOL – but they seem to think they have EVERY right to share my PERSONAL photo with a link back to me. We should be able to remove shares if it’s our photo in the first place being shared.

    1. Yes, you should keep only one pic at once and delete the others that you are not using.

  19. yup its a bug .. actually a big one

    a week ago there was someone pretending to be me on FB .. adding my friends

    he/she depended on having my name and all my damn cover photos
    plus . its not fair to delete a memo photo just to save it from being taken by someone i dont know

  20. on facebook… many people are misbehaving by downloading pics of others.. pls lets do something for this.. lets put it on news and evrywhere else.. that facebook should remove that download option.. pl shelp me on this.. lets spread awareness about it.. pls πŸ™

  21. Honestly, I have all the friends I want at this point, if I want to add more, I’ll add them myself. I don’t collect “friend” numbers like a trophy. If I want my damn stuff to be private, and only viewable to my friends and family, and NOT to the public (including a stalker ex-husband) then I should have that option. When I view my timeline as the supposed public can, if shows that they can access my profile pics as well. I checked them all individually, and it SAYS that its set to friends, but if that’s the case, why does it show it as an album and not as the individual pic? I can’t bring myself to delete my account, because I’m able to keep in touch with old friends that I wouldn’t otherwise have. But honestly, force-feeding me timeline sucks.

  22. I can understand that the cover photo is made public and most people who read the “fine print” will be aware and understand this, however what i believe is wrong is that any comment made relating to the cover photo should NOT be made public.

  23. Hey evryone..pls help meeeeee
    my friend had few pics of OUR FRIENDS GROUP wich he uploaded once as cover photo
    now i want that photo on my cover by i CANNOT DOWNLOAD COVER FOTO from his timeline !!
    only we can tag those pics :((
    is there any way to download cover pics from a friends profile ??

  24. some how my cover photo is not public. it says public but doesn’t show up in my “view as” public. I think something happened yesterday because all my public posts disappeared. Except the new ones. Very strange. Maybe facebook is changing the cover photo to private and I was one of the 1st to notice it?????

    1. addition.. Just uploaded new cover photo to see what happened and still not being seen in “view as” public timeline

  25. @tracey…the same has happened for me and I discovered it yesterday…none of my photos can be seen in “view as”….even though my cover photos should be public they are not, so right now NO photos or any of my other photo albums are shown when I use the “view as” function to see how my profile looks in public. Actually I would like people to see my cover photos so perhaps Facebook is adjusting something right now???

  26. Swati and Melissa, I went to facebook help center and seems people are starting to experience it as well. But when others checked their page the cover photo was visible. So my public stuff is really there, just I can’t see it. Scary thing is… other people had the opposite and their private photo albums are visible. YIKES

  27. Can you please tell me how can I prevent someone who’s not my friend to write a comment or like my cover photo? It’s possible because I saw it on other’s profiles but I can’t find it in privacy settings..:(

  28. What bothers me about this whole cover photo privacy issue is the fact that it is NOT consistent with ALL users. I am seeing MANY public covers on non friend users that i CANNOT COMMENT ON. yet MY cover photos are free for ANYONE to comment on and they DO! i just today had some weirdo leave a huge diatribe after disagreeing with a public comment i left on a public facebook page. the nerve! i want MY setting set to prevent this as OTHERS DO HAVE. check for yourself! it is clearly not a uniform POLICY.

  29. It is NOT just cover photos that are public any more – but ALSO your Profile Picture album. Were you aware that for EVERY new profile picture you use/upload, it TOO is automatically made PUBLIC? You now have to set EACH profile picture MANUALLY to [only me/friends/custom] – and it’s very easy to forget to do this πŸ™ It has happened to me many times πŸ™

    Just because we don’t pay for Facebook, we SHOULD have privacy options for ALL our OWN photographs/pictures. My suggestion is not to use the cover picture feature at all – and please remember to change your privacy setting for every new profile pic.

  30. There is no argument at one time or another in your life you might want to change the fact that at one time or another it was PUBLIC — Now , for me is one of those moments, not only can I NOT make it NON PUBLIC for a DAMN GOOD REASON but I CANNOT DELETE THE ENTIRE ALBUM AT ONCE. It’s cruel and unusual — It SHOULD BE CHANGED !

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