France’s national police force, the Gendarmerie nationale, has issued a strongly worded Facebook post imploring parents around France to stop posting pictures of their children online. “You can all be proud moms and dads to your magnificent children, but be careful,” someone, presumably a police officer, wrote (charmingly literal translation via Facebook). “We remind you that posting photos of your kids to Facebook is not without danger!”
The initiative was launched by the police in response to the “Motherhood Challenge,” an awful Facebook thing that trivializes actual challenges of motherhood in favor of posting generic pictures of mother and child smiling. The French seem to be most concerned with the privacy of children whose pictures mothers are plastering their photos all over Facebook; a French internet law expert told center-right newspaper Le Figaro that, since French law prohibits taking and publishing pictures of anyone without their consent (including children), it’s not too hard to foresee a future in which aging French parents are jailed and fined for posting pictures of their children, should those children later object.
Another, unspoken aspect of this seemingly strange statement from the French police could be the fact that everyone hates seeing pictures of other peoples’ children on Facebook. Le Figaro summed it up quite nicely when they referred to a friend’s child being born as “D-Day.” The French are, as usual, far ahead of us on the front of barring parents from spamming us with posts about their awful children. I call on the FBI, which is almost like the Gendarmerie nationale, to issue a similar warning and prevent me from ever seeing a picture of a child I don’t know ever again.