Posting a person’s photo on a social network

Many entrepreneurs use an account on social networks such as Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok,… to attract attention to their company and products. Of course everyone wants an attractive profile with many likes and followers, so they post plenty of photos, videos and popular content.

Just be careful what you post. You may not post any recognizable person on your socials without having explicit permission from that person. You must also be able to prove that you have said permission.

A wedding dress designer posted a photo of a man and a woman in a wedding dress designed by the company on Instagram. After the company received a complaint, the photo was removed within the hour and re-uploaded with the complainant’s face obscured by a black circle. The photo was eventually deleted permanently.

Fine for Posting a person’s photo on a social network

A procedure followed before the competent data protection authority. The wedding dress company defended itself by pointing out that the complainant himself had also posted the photo on his own page and had not protested against the photo on Instagram. That was to no avail, because the company was sentenced to a fine of € 10,000.

According to the data protection authority, valid consent requires the manifestation of free, specific, informed and unambiguous will, expressed through a statement or clear affirmative action. No valid consent had been given by the complainant, as reposting or tagging in social media posts cannot constitute clear affirmative action.

There must therefore be an explicit statement from the person in the photo giving permission to post the photo on that specific social network. Also know that permission can be revoked at any time, and you must then immediately delete the photo. So maintaining a page on social media is more work than you might think.

You can read the original decision here : ps-00066-2022.pdf (

Want to know more about social media and privacy? This article provides more insight.

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