As visitors to the DAM Coalition website know, digital camera files can contain significantly more information than just the pixel stream. Even basic photo editing software, like Adobe Photoshop, Bridge, Lightroom or Photo Mechanic, allows photographers to embed rights-based information (like a Copyright Notice) and other descriptive information. However, you wouldn't know that from looking at pictures on many social media sites or after downloading them from photo sharing sites. According to a recent study just released by the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC), major social networks like Facebook, Twitter or Flickr remove copyright information and other useful embedded data from pictures posted by their users.
“A social networking site is only as good as the information its members choose to share. If users provide rights data and descriptions within their images, these data shouldn't be removed without their knowledge”, said Michael Steidl, Managing Director of the IPTC, a consortium of the world's major news agencies, news publishers and news industry vendors.
Every day, more and more photos are shared over social media. IPTC was approached by users who discovered that when they shared photos, their embedded metadata disappeared. Earlier this month, the IPTC Photo Metadata Working Group tested 15 social media sites to understand how image sharing, through upload and download, affects the integrity of embedded metadata as defined by IPTC standards and the Exif standard. The results are available at www.embeddedmetadata.org/testresults
The full news release about the Social Media Study is available from the IPTC website.