Facebook Privacy Policy Hoax

Facebook Privacy Hoax
12-01-2015

Have you seen a strange Facebook privacy notice popping up in your news feed? If not, you are most likely to come across it at some point in the next few weeks. The statement looks like this:

“As of Jan. 5, 2015 at 10:50 a.m. Eastern standard time, I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, or posts, both past and future. By this statement I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute or take any other action against me based on this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308-11 308-103 and Rome statute). NOTE: Facebook is now a public entity. All members must post a note like this. If you prefer, you can copy and paste this version. If you do not publish this statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as information contained in the profile status updates. DO NOT SHARE you MUST copy and paste to make this I will leave a comment so it will be easier to copy and paste!!!”

The statement urges Facebook users to copy and paste the statement into their statuses that will then be visible by the users friends. This is how it spreads so fast due to the reach it gets through each user. This is however not the first time this has happened. Washington Post’s Caitlin Dewey says that variations on this privacy screed have made the rounds on Facebook since 2012. We assure you that it is not necessary or relevant to pass statuses like this around. This is a hoax. Facebook will notify you by email or notification of any changes to their Privacy Policy and you can ignore statements like this going forward.

The great news about Facebook is that they do not want to “own” your content. Whatever you upload to your profile or timeline is yours. This includes status updates, pictures and videos.

“Anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post, as stated in our terms. They control how that content and information is shared. That is our policy, and it always has been,” Facebook said in a 2012 post, addressing what it called a “Copyright Meme Spreading On Facebook.”

When you signed up for Facebook you agreed to their Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. If you haven’t read either of them, now is a good time to start. Make sure you understand what Facebook is allowed and not allowed to do to make sure you stay in control of your content. One of the things you agreed to when signing up to Facebook is “a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook”. What this means is that Facebook can use anything you post to promote itself. With the vast number of Facebook users it may be unlikely that your image or video will be used, but if it is used just remember that ‘you have agreed to it’. If you are unhappy with the T’s and C’s or Privacy Policy here are a few options for you:

  • Don’t sign up to Facebook.
  • Negotiate a modified privacy policy with Facebook (probably not going to get you anywhere).
  • Ask Facebook to amend its policies (a shot in the dark but give it a go).
  • Delete your Facebook account.

Facebook is a great way to stay connected and share your life story. Use it wisely and stay informed to stay in charge. Happy posting.

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