Do Not Be Duped By the Facebook Privacy Hoax

Have you seen posts made by your Facebook friends proclaiming copyright ownership of all content? Have you copied and pasted said notice to post on your own timeline? If you have not already, you need not bother. It is a hoax.

The Facebook privacy disclaimer hoax is not even new. It is a reappearance of an old hoax that many users were duped by earlier in the year when Facebook became a publicly traded company. The previous hoax indicated that the change from a private to public company somehow altered the rules of the privacy agreement, thereby putting your posts and photos at risk unless you copied and pasted a legal disclaimer establishing copyright ownership of all your Facebook content.

Facebook-hoaxThe new one states: “In response to the Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, paintings, writing, publications, photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berne Convention).”

The disclaimer goes on to assert that written consent is required for commercial use of any of the content listed, and instructs other Facebook users to copy and paste the notice onto their own timeline to safeguard content from copyright violations.

Once again, it is all false. Social media icon Robert Scoble candidly expressed his sentiments regarding the hoax to his 434,000 subscribers: “If you are posting about copyright on Facebook and you haven’t done your research you are an idiot.”

Scoble directs people to do a little research before unthinkingly hopping on the meme bandwagon, and directs people to a Snopes post discussing the Facebook privacy disclaimer hoax. Snopes is great place to start before reposting, forwarding, or copy and pasting anything on the internet.

Upon joining Facebook and setting up an account, you are required to accept the established Facebook terms and policies, including the privacy policy. There is no coercion to create a Facebook account, and rejecting the agreement and refusing to use Facebook are obviously acceptable; however, if you are using Facebook that means you have already agreed to the legal terms that Facebook spells out.

Facebook privacy is a frequent venue of debate and controversy, and Facebook is not always a paragon of upholding privacy rights. Facebook does, however, offer a diverse set of privacy controls and enables users to customize how photos, status updates, and other Facebook content are shared.

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