If you’re on Facebook you’ve probably seen people sharing a post with a “legal notice” that your posts will soon become public.
It’s a hoax. Not only is it a hoax, it’s an old hoax. According to Snopes.com, versions of the post have been around since 2012.
It got to the point that Facebook posted a response, on Nov. 26, 2012:
“There is a rumor circulating that Facebook is making a change related to ownership of users’ information or the content they post to the site. This is false. 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. Click here to learn more – www.facebook.com/policies“
Remember that when you signed up with Facebook you had to agree to give the social network the right to distribute your photos and posts. That’s how Facebook works, otherwise your friends and family wouldn’t see you posts.
More importantly, Facebook doesn’t claim to own your data. You own it.
Here’s a section of Facebook’s actual terms of service:
“You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings.”
Posting some strange legalese about privacy guidelines on your Facebook page doesn’t do anything.
As a rule of thumb, posts that ask you to “copy and paste” the text and share it are usually hoaxes.
If you were curious about the Rome Statute that is often cited in these posts, it’s the International Criminal Court Statute for four core international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. Absolutely nothing to do with your privacy on Facebook.
One of the reasons the hoax has stayed active for so long is that it gets recirculated through likes, appearing in people’s newsfeeds. It also strikes a chord with people who feel like they have lost control of their privacy online.
In case you haven’t yet come across it, here’s the latest version of the Facebook post that has been making the rounds:
Better to be safe then sorry. an attorney said to post this. Good enough for me. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 and the Rome Statute). NOTE: Facebook is now a public entity. All members must post a note like this. If you do not publish a statement at least once it will be tacitly understood that you are allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in your profile status updates. I DO NOT GIVE MY PERMISSION.
If you prefer, you can copy and paste this version