Tighten the belt in 2009

A weekly look at a problem that could affect your bottom line.

Problem: Someone posted embarrassing photos of you on Facebook or MySpace, potentially derailing a job search or promotion.

Solution: "Untag" your photo or block who can see your photos.

Tagging is used in Facebook to tell users who is in a photo. If someone posts and tags you in an unflattering photo, you have some options. One thing you can do is de-tag the photo. Go to the page that has the photo and click on the "de-tag" link next to your name. The photo can still be viewed in the album of the person who uploaded it, so if you are really worried about the photo, contact the person who posted it and ask them to take it down.

Another option is to tweak the settings on your profile's privacy settings. Under the section titled "Photos Tagged of You," specify which groups or friends can view your photos. You might want to limit who can see your photos.

On MySpace, if one of your friends tags you in a photo, the site sends you a message asking for your permission to allow it. If you decline to be tagged, your name won't be associated with the photo. But friends of the person who posted the photo will still be able to see it. If you do accept to be tagged, you can de-tag later by going to the photo's page and clicking on the red "X" next to your name.

You can ask MySpace to take down a photo. Each photo page has a link to report a photo. MySpace removes photos on a case-by-case basis. Facebook only removes photos that violate its terms of service.