Don’t Be Fooled

I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed this afternoon and one of my Facebook friends posted a status that started, “In response to the new Facebook guidelines, I hereby declare that my copyright…” and so forth. I was too uninterested to read the rest as I thought this post was about something only in reference to her. However, as I kept scrolling, I found that four more people posted the status that started the same way hers did. I decided to click ‘read more’ and read the whole post:

 In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!


(Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place
them under protection of copyright laws. By the present communiqué, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook’s direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).

Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates…

The post claims that anyone can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook wall, which forbids Facebook to “disclose, copy, distribute, or take any other action against [the user] on the basis of this profile and/or its contents.” It goes on to say that “Facebook is now an open capital entity,” and that all its members are “recommended to publish a notice like this.”

However, this ‘privacy notice’ that, as I saw when scrolling through my newsfeed, has been virally spreading on Facebook, which “supposedly” protects one’s personal details and data from unauthorized copying, is fake. The notice started spreading a few days after Facebook released its new privacy guidelines. What exactly changed? Well, until Wednesday, you had voting rights on Facebook (I didn’t even know that, and I’m sure not many people did). The site used to allow users to vote on the rules for how it treats your information and your privacy. However, because of a lack of voters, (in June, only 0.038% of Facebook’s population at the time voted on Facebook’s proposed two alternative versions of its statement of rights and responsibilities), Facebook decided that it would let users comment on proposed changes to the governing documents, but not vote. This notice resembles that of one that was virally spread in July, but both are untrue.

The purpose of this notice is that Facebook’s listing as a public traded company will have negative affects on its users’ privacy. However, this is not true. Facebook and its users are still bound “to the same terms and conditions that are accepted by users when they sign up for the service, and posting a legal talisman of this kind on your profile does nothing to change that.” Don’t be fooled.

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