The Facebook Hoax

In recent weeks, you may have seen a Facebook “privacy notice” creep into your Facebook timeline. It probably 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 If you do not publish this statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as information contained in the profile status updates.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!!!”

Because it urges people to copy and paste it into their own statuses, the message is proliferating on peoples’  news feeds. And it’s not the first time this has happened. As the Washington Post’s Caitlin Dewey points out, variations on this privacy screed have made the rounds  since 2012.

But it’s pointless to pass it around.

Facebook isn’t interested in owning anything you post. Everything you post on Facebook — status updates, pictures, videos, bogus “privacy notices” — is yours.

“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.”

You’re also not preventing Facebook from “violating your privacy” when you repost a chain message. When you first signed up to use Facebook, you agreed to the company’s Terms of Service, which include its privacy policy. And while Facebook at times updates its Terms of Service, your agreement to those updated terms is implicit.

You also agreed to give Facebook “a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook,” according to the company’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. This means Facebook can use anything you post on the website to promote itself.

The “privacy notice” you might see getting passed around on your feed is useless. A hoax.

If you don’t agree with the policies, though, you have a few options besides reposting a copy-and-pasted “privacy notice.” Your options are:

Not sign up for a Facebook account in the first place.

Negotiate a modified privacy policy with corporate (good luck with that).

Ask Facebook to amend its policies.

Delete your  account.

Bottom line? Don’t bother copying, pasting, and posting. It was a hoax before and is still a hoax now.

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