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'Facebook Privacy Notice' Is Useless


As posted on Facebook, June 11, 2013:
Facebook Privacy Notice

Netlore Archive: Viral text purports to legally protect the privacy and intellectual property rights of Facebook members who copy and paste it to their walls.

Via Facebook

Description: Viral Facebook posting
Circulating since: May 2012
Status: False (see details below)

Example #1:
As shared on Facebook, Oct. 15, 2013:

Better safe than sorry. As of October 15, 2013 at 4:11pm 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 and/or its contents. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. 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 prefer, you can copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in the profile status updates. DO NOT SHARE. You MUST copy and Paste

Example #2:
As shared on Facebook, June 11, 2013:

Warning!!! - Any person and/or institution and/or Agent and/or Agency of any governmental structure including but not limited to the United States Federal Government also using or monitoring/using this website or any of its associated websites, you DO NOT have my permission to utilize any of my profile information nor any of the content contained herein including, but not limited to my photos, and.../or the comments made about my photos or any other "picture" art posted on my profile. You are hereby notified that you are strictly prohibited from disclosing, copying, distributing, disseminating, or taking any other action against me with regard to this profile and the contents herein. The foregoing prohibitions also apply to your employee, agent, student or any personnel under your direction or control the contents of this profile are private and legally privileged and confidential information, and the violation of my personal privacy is punishable by law. UCC 1-103 1-308 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WITHOUT PREJUDICE

For those of you who do not understand the reasoning behind this posting, Facebook is now a publicly traded entity. Unless you state otherwise, anyone can infringe on your right to privacy once you post to this site. It is recommended that you and other members post a similar notice as this, or you may copy and paste this version. If you do not post such a statement once, then you are indirectly allowing public use of items such as your photos and the information contained in your status. YOU HAVE TO COPY AND PASTE.

Analysis: Variations of this text have been circulating since May 2012. A fresh wave of postings flooded the site in June 2013 after news reports revealed the extent of the federal government's electronic snooping under the NSA's "PRISM" program. Another wave followed the October 2013 announcement of an update of Facebook's own privacy policy.

The premise behind the copy-and-paste text seems to be that posting a declaration to the effect that one's profile and posted materials are "private and legally privileged" is sufficient to protect them from monitoring, infringement, and/or unauthorized use by Facebook or anyone else, including individuals, companies, and government agencies. But this is not the case.

Your contract with Facebook

The privacy and conditions of use of the information you share on and/or with Facebook are governed by the Terms of Service and Data Use Policy you automatically agree to by using Facebook, as well as by the Privacy Settings you choose when configuring your account. No amount of legalese added to your wall supersedes those terms and settings.

For example, the Terms of Service state that you, as a Facebook member, "own all of the content and information you post on Facebook," but also that you "specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License)." Also, "When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture)."

Therefore, if you've published content on Facebook using the Public setting it does you no good at all to post a notice saying "you DO NOT have my permission to utilize any of my profile information nor any of the content contained herein," etc., because you've already tacitly granted that permission to any and all who might view it.

See the resources below for more information on Facebook privacy policies and settings.

Facebook 'Graph App' and Privacy
Facebook 'Copyright Notice' Is a Hoax
'I Want to Stay Privately Connected' Hoax

Dig deeper:
Your Rights and Social Media Privacy Policies

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Sources and further reading:

Facebook Terms of Service
Facebook.com, 11 December 2012

Facebook Data Use Policy
Facebook.com, 11 December 2012

Facebook Privacy Settings Tutorial
About.com: Social Media

Facebook Privacy Notice Debunked
Slate.com, 5 June 2012

[Hoax Alert ] Privacy Notice and Warning to Institutions, Agents & Agencies
FaceCrooks.com, 4 June 2012

Facebook Privacy Notice Chain Letter Is a Hoax
Sophos Naked Security, 5 June 2012

Don't Fall for Fake 'Privacy' Notice on Facebook
USA Today, 6 June 2012

Last updated 10/18/13

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