Houston attorney's Facebook photos end up on party promoter's website

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The man used her profile pictures without her permission, but was it illegal? (KTRK)

When a random Facebook scroll turned into something curious, Houston attorney Cicely Reid launched her own investigation.

"Up pops my face on someone else's timeline," Reid said. "I felt angry, I felt violated. As I went through his page, I found probably three or four of my profile pictures on his page."

A stranger from Houston was using Reid's profile pictures to promote parties, a hair extension business, and a tax services company.

"Which was problematic for me because I'm an attorney and I don't want anyone to associate my face with legal tax advice," Reid said.

She reported the pictures to Facebook and sent the man a message to take down her photos.

"He did not right away. I just started clicking around on his page and noticed he had a lot of pictures of different women on his page. I also brought to Facebook's attention that there were also several photographs of children on the
page," Reid said.

After several aggressive emails and persistence, Reid's photos were removed from the promoter's page.

Legal analyst Joel Androphy says there is nothing criminal about someone using your picture, but you could file a civil lawsuit if the person is using it to show you in a false light or for their own profit.

"That's why there's a lot of lawsuits by pro athletes all the time over the improper use of their image," Androphy said.

In order to protect your pictures you can copyright the images, but that is a complicated process.

An easier alternative is to use Google Images.

"It crawls the internet as a whole to see how your image is being used," said social media expert Ashley Small.

Now, Reid warns others to scan all social media and the Internet regularly

"You are giving up not only a measure of your privacy but a certain measure of control over what can happen to the photos that you post on Facebook," Reid said.

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